The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Sony plans to offer their Music Unlimited service on iOS in the first quarter of this year. With heavy competition in the music streaming space from products like rdio and Spotify, it will be a hard sell to get people to pay Sony $9.99 every month to stream any of their 15 million available songs.
The only real leg-up that Sony has is the integration with their own products like the PS3 and upcoming Vita:[quote]Tim Schaaff, president of Sony Network Entertainment, said at a briefing with reporters at the Consumer Electronics Show that Sony decided to broaden the audience for Music Unlimited with the hope that it may bring consumers to Sony products down the road. He compared it to the same logic used by Apple to offer iTunes to personal computers running Microsoft’s Windows operating system. “You can be a Sony customer, but not every product you own has to be a Sony,” said Mr. Schaaff, noting that offering the service on Apple products does not limit Sony from creating exclusive advantages for users of the service on Sony hardware.[/quote]
This does bring up the question of Apple entering the streaming space. Hands down, iTunes dominates online music sales, but there is clearly a growing demand for low-priced streaming plans. iTunes Match provides one aspect of streaming: your purchased library is now available everywhere, but Ping‘s social function would work a lot better if you could listen to any of the music your friends recommend at no additional cost beyond your monthly or yearly fee. Hopefully Apple is working on a baked-in solution.
Source: Wall Street Journal