Japan is and has been one of the leading markets in technology for the past decade or so, but for some reason major music streaming services have avoided the “Land of the Rising Sun”. Spotify, Rdio, and Pandora are still not available to Japanese users, but fortunately for them Sony’s Music Unlimited is available starting today in the region.
Launched in December 2010 in UK and Ireland, Music Unlimited has enjoyed a pretty impressive spread in the last year or so and is now available in 17 countries around the globe, having well over one million active users.
In Japan, Sony’s on-demand streaming music service will come with initial access to 10 million tracks from major labels like EMI Music, Sony Music, Universal or Warner, but also from several independent labels. The service’s catalogue should be upgraded and expanded “over time” and there’s a good possibility the 15 million songs mark reached by the UK and US versions of Music Unlimited to be at least tied by the Japanese version by the end of the year.
The Music Unlimited services and features can be accessed on a wide variety of Sony-manufactured devices, including the Xperia smartphones, the company’s Android tablets, the Walkman line, PS3, PS Vita, and Vaio computers. Furthermore, you can also subscribe and listen to Music Unlimited tracks on pretty much any kind of Windows-based computer, as well as on Macs running OS X 10.5 or up.
In addition to online streaming, which is the service’s most important feature and its strongest point, Music Unlimited also comes with offline playback and access to 57 preset music channels categorized by genre and/or era. Furthermore, there’s also a high degree of “communication” and interaction between the service and the users, with Music Unlimited adapting to music preferences based on like and dislike ratings and offering the “most compatible and enjoyable songs from the cloud”.
As you might expect, Sony’s premium Music Unlimited service will come with truly premium pricing in Japan. You’ll therefore be asked to rake in ¥1,480 (around $18.55) per month to enjoy all of the streaming benefits of Music Unlimited, which is almost double what U.S. and UK users are charged for the same features and functions, not to mention the considerably larger number of available songs.
Fortunately, if you’re still on the fence about Music Unlimited, or you don’t think the service is worth all that money, you can get a free 30-day trial that Sony hopes will convince you to get some green out of your pockets.
What say you, Japanese music lovers? Will you at least take the 30-day free trial for a spin? Do you think that Sony needs to drop the price of Music Unlimited to make the service truly appealing to the regular user? Drop us a comment below and let us know.