As Billbaord.biz reported yesterday, Sony is giving its new Qriocity cloud-based media platform a big push at this year's MIDEM. They launched in the U.K. last week and Germany this week and is expected to arrive in the U.S. in the first quarter. A basic level of service costs £3.99/€ 3.99 and allows for genre playlists that mimic the operations of a personalized Internet radio service. The premium level of service costs £9.99/€ 9.99 and allows subscribers to access all the features.
Billboard was given a demo of Music Unlimited and got to see first-hand its features and design. The slick design recalls the visually striking Zune interface and is a contrast to the more utilitarian interface of Spotify and Rhapsody.
It has all the features you'd expect. Premium subscribers can create playlists and search and play any artist. All subscribers can access genre channels that build playlists according to the user's history of preferences. Music Unlimited uses Gracenote technology to organize and select songs, and the like/don't like common to Internet radio can be used for customized streaming.
Qricity looks great on paper, like many newly-launched music tech products, but it's unclear if will attract customers. The effectiveness and likeability of the upcoming Android apps will be an important test. If done right, adding mobile capabilities to PCs and the living room could prove attractive to consumers. Sony's decision to launch with an emphasis on the home will be a good test of just how deep the market's thirst really is for integrating music into movie, TV and gaming platforms.