Is Sony threatening to pull its music content from iTunes?

Sony logo

As retaliation for snubbing its non-native e-book app, Sony vaguely suggested it may pull its music content from Apple’s iTunes. In an interview with The Age, Sony exec Michael Ephraim indicates that music publishers want to an iTunes alternative, and that perhaps Sony no longer needs to sell Apple its material.

According to the interview, Sony will expand its music streaming service, Music Unlimited, in the near future, as one of those iTunes alternatives music publishers can turn to. Music Unlimited is currently only available in Spain, Italy, Germany, the UK, Ireland, and France. Its forthcoming mobile gaming service will also give users access to first generation PlayStation games, and most likely won’t be offered to iTunes or iPhone users. He takes a dig at Apple’s closed platform, claiming that Sony PlayStation Suite will bring various early PS games to handheld devices, including the Android-based Samsung Galaxy S and Motorola Defy.

Apple incited a battle with Sony when it initially rejected Sony’s e-reader app since users didn’t purchase books through its own platform. It then amended this, saying that in order to purchase e-books on iOS devices, it requires customers must have the option of buying them through iTunes.

It seems like the debacle has left a bad taste in Sony’s mouth, and it wants to break free of iTunes’ hold on the mobile market. Talking about Music Unlimited, Ephraim says “If we do [get mass take up] then does Sony Music need to provide content to iTunes? Currently we do. We have to provide it to iTunes as that’s the format right now.” And apparently “right now” means for the next few years. He admits that while Apple has cornered this music streaming for the moment, he notes that “publishers are being held ransom by Apple and they are looking for other delivery systems, and we are waiting to see what the next three to five years will hold.”

If Sony were to actually pull its content from iTunes, it’s difficult to say which company would suffer more. ITunes inarguably needs Sony’s content (which includes the likes of Billy Joel, all Glee titles, and MGMT), but it’s safe to assume that Music Unlimited’s subscription plan and lack of mobile integration isn’t going to gain widespread appeal. In short, it’s a little too late to challenge iTunes at its own game.

But restricting access for its PlayStation Suite service seems like fair retribution for the tightening App Store. While we doubt it’s going to cause anyone to ditch their iPhone, it might sway fanboys torn between that and an Android device. Which might be a tiny victory for Sony in this battle, but it’s probably the best it can get.

Home Theater

You can now watch four PlayStation Vue streams at once on a single Apple TV

PlayStation Vue subscribers can now watch March Madness in style via Apple TV, which can now stream up for four separate games to your TV at once, making it easy to catch all the on-court action.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the Final Four online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on all the ways to watch March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.
Gaming

Here's how you can control your PS4 right from your phone

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can get the most out of the system while on the go.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Mobile

These voice-changing apps will have you punking friends and family like a pro

Have you ever wanted to call your friends as Darth Vader or Alvin from the Chipmunks? If you want to play a prank on your friends, we have the best voice-changer apps for iOS and Android, whether you want to record audio or make a call.
Mobile

The Black Shark 2’s Ludicrous Mode promises the smoothest mobile gaming

Xiaomi-backed Black Shark has a follow-up to last year's Black Shark gaming phone, complete with high specs and a low price. Here's everything we know about the Black Shark 2 gaming phone.
Mobile

Google's midrange Pixels might be called the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.
Mobile

Whether by the pool or the sea, make a splash with the best waterproof phones

Whether you're looking for a phone you can use in the bath, or you just want that extra peace of mind, waterproof phones are here and they're amazing. Check out our selection of the best ones you can buy.
Cars

Say goodbye to Uber for good: Here's how to cut ties with the ridesharing service

If you thought that deleting the Uber app would also delete your account, think again. You'll have to deactivate your account, then wait 30 days in order to do so. Here, we outlined how to delete your Uber account once and for all.
Mobile

Rooting your Android device is risky. Do it right with our handy guide

Wondering whether to root your Android smartphone or stick with stock Android? Perhaps you’ve decided to do it and you just need to know how? Here, you'll find an explanation and a quick guide on how to root Android devices.
Mobile

Does this video show off the Huawei P30 Pro's impressive camera suite?

The Huawei P30 Pro will be announced on March 26. It has already started to leak ahead of this date, and expectations are high that the company will improve even further on the P20 Pro's camera.
Mobile

Google Fi: Phones, plans, pricing, perks, and more explained

Google's wireless service, formerly Project Fi, now goes by the name of Google Fi, and it's now compatible with a majority of Android phones, as well as iPhones. Here's everything you need to know about Google Fi.
Mobile

Google hit with another fine by the EU, this time for $1.7 billion

Google has been fined for the third time by the EU, this time for breaching antitrust laws by requiring third-party websites using its search function to prioritize its ads over competitors.
Mobile

You can now use the innovative Red Hydrogen One on Google Fi

The Red Hydrogen One was first announced in 2017 and has been delayed a few times since then. Now, the Red Hydrogen One is finally available, featuring a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.