For a couple years now, Sony has been offering a service on their PlayStation 3 gaming console called Music Unlimited™. I personally have seen this on my console, but had dismissed it for quite awhile. Only through sheer boredom did I even bother to look at it. I am glad I did, to the point of changing the way I listen to digital music, buy home entertainment equipment, and most importantly, purchase digital tracks.
On the surface, this seems like a typical streaming, middleware, digital rights model. The “free” version allows you to stream the typical 30 second all rights version of any song. As I did my first few artist searches, it dawned on me that the pay version might give me access to anything? all the time? This couldn’t be true, but for $9.99 a month, no annual contract, I thought it worth taking it for a spin. Low and behold, Music Unlimited is exactly that, and then some.
Saying that MU offers access to everything that’s ever been recorded would obviously not be true. There are significant holes in music, no patterns that I can figure out, but I’m sure it has to do with what Sony owns, has legal access to, and the artists that have held on tightly to their rights. The same thing takes place on all digital music providers, and MU has about the same availability as other leading providers out there.
Operation of the MU iPhone application is slightly slower than any of the other leading audio streaming apps. It has a long way to go and in my experience, Sony development is slow in the making. For my money, it is still worth it.
Functionality: The iPhone app allows you to create playlists, add artists, albums and songs to your custom library. Along with standard features, the app also has genre based channels as well as mood channels; all of which seem to have decent content.
Overall, the service brings value, and for Sony, it is a pretty good value for the price. It is difficult to see all of the great content and functionality using the freeware, so maybe $9.99 will be worth it for you.