Sony Corp went live with its previously announced Qriocity music service today, debuting in the U.K. and Ireland.
"Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" is a subscription streaming service with access to about 6 million songs for 10-pounds (about $15) a month. While that sounds much like your typical subscription service from the likes of MOG, Rhapsody and Spotify, there are some significant differences that could hobble the effort straight out of the gate.
Primarily, Qriocity is available only on Sony-made Internet-connected devices, such as the PlayStation3, Bravia TVs and computers. While users can sync their Qriocity music with music in their existing digital libraries, there's no portable option at this time.
That's a problem, particularly at the cost. Sony says it will expand to Android-based smartphones (but no iPhone?) and other portable devices in the future.
Kazuo Hirai, executive VP and head of Sony's Networked Products and Services group, told the AP that the initial strategy is to use the music service as a means of making its devices more attractive. With about 80% of the 60 million PS3 devices worldwide connected to the Internet, that's a good strategy.
But doing so with a service that's unavailable on different devices and platforms is a good way to ensure it's failure. Take rival Microsoft's Xbox 360. It too has music options, but instead chose ones that are available on other devices-the Zune subscription service and Last.fm for instance.
Eventually, Hirai told the AP that the Qriocity service would need to "stand on its own," which presumably means it may incorporate more open features. Hopefully, that will be the case before the service expands into the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and New Zealand as is promised for next year.