Sony Rolls Out 'Music Unlimited' in New Countries, Executive Denies Plans to Abandon iTunes

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As reported by Bloomberg, Sony today announced that it has launched its "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" streaming service in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, building on debuts in a series of European countries over the past few months. The new service takes aim at Apple's iTunes Store with two tiers of service: a basic tier priced at $3.99 per month that offers music channels, similar to what Pandora currently offers for free; and a premium tier priced at $9.99 per month that offers on-demand access to the service's full catalog of over six million tracks.

Interestingly, All Things Digital notes that the new service offers no compatibility with mobile devices at launch, although Sony is working to add compatibility with Android and has an eye on bringing the service to iOS devices.

A Sony executive made waves last week with his suggestion that Sony could eventually pull its music from Apple's dominant iTunes Store if the Music Unlimited service takes off, but Business Insider reports that another executive has now refuted that idea.

But Sony Network Entertainment COO Brandon Layden says no way:

"Sony Music as I understand it has no intention of withdrawing from iTunes, they're one of our biggest partners in the digital domain. I think those words were either taken out of context or the person who spoke them was unclear on the circumstances."

Whether or not Music Unlimited ever comes to iOS devices may of course be determined by how Sony feels about Apple's new policies requiring App Store developers offering subscription content to utilize Apple's in-app subscription functionality and limit links to external purchasing methods, driving subscription traffic through Apple's channels where the company takes a 30% cut of revenue. Rhapsody, which has long offered a streaming music service similar to the premium tier of Music Unlimited, has noted that the model is "economically untenable" for such services and that it is exploring its legal and business options for responding to Apple's move.

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