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Sony expands Music Unlimited by Qriocity in Europe

Last year, Sony formally launched new Music Unlimited by Qriocity streaming music service for PS3 and PSPs, and expanded the service to Ireland and the U.K. last month. Now, Sony is expanding into additional European markets, announcing today that Music Unlimited for Qriocity is now available in Spain, Italy, France, and Germany.

“Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity will not only enhance customers’ Sony devices by unifying their music experiences and content, but will further open up access, create music discovery opportunities, and spawn new listening possibilities for customers,” said Sony’s president of networked products Kazuo Hirai, in a statement. “We will continue to develop services ‘powered by Qriocity,’ in order to provide a greater value proposition to our customers around the world.”

The music service features streaming music from the big four music labels—Sony, of course, but also Universal Music Group, EMI, and Warner Music Group—along with leading independent labels. In addition to PS3 and PSP systems, the service also works with selected 2010 and 2011 Sony Blu-ray players and Bravia Internet-enabled TVs. Sony promises the service will become available on additional Sony portable devices, as well as third-party Android devices. Qriocity media is all streamed from cloud-based servers, but devices can cache limited amounts of content locally so users still have access to some media when disconnected.

Sony is positioning the Qriocity music service as a competitor to Apple’s iTunes, operating as a subscription service rather than on a pay-to-own model. Qriocity runs €3.99 per month for streaming music for a basic option, with a premium option costing €9.99—that’s about $5.50 and $13.50 per month in U.S. dollars, respectively. The basic plan has limited content available; the premium plan expands available content and create customized playlists.

According to industry reports, Sony plans to launch the Qriocity streaming music service in the United States early in 2011.

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