Sony has announced that they will launch an online cloud based music service called Music Unlimited before the end of the year. The service will stream music to Sony’s TVs, Blu-ray players, and connected mobile devices, which will also be able to cache and store songs for offline listening as well.
Cloud based music services that store music online and stream it on demand are the next coming for the digital music industry. Google is reportedly planning to release its own version before the end of the year, Apple purchased Lala with a similar intent, and several other services are already available.
Sony’s version, Music Unlimited, will include common playlist building features along with Sony’s SenseMe technology which can detect personal music preferences and suggest music based on those criteria. Music Unlimited is based on the Qriocity platform, Sony’s cloud based streaming delivery platform.
I’m a fan of Chumby – mainly because of its name. Chumbys are tabletop internet radios and a lot more – they’re actually tabletop internet ready devices, designed to be a digital photo frame and alarm clock that also allows you to listen online, check news and weather, watch videos, play games.
Last year Sony licensed their unique dashboard for its Sony Dash. Now Best Buy has a new device – the Infocast – which uses the Chumby dashboard as well. Its on Best Buy’s house label Insignia, sells for $169, and would make a downright smart conversation starter on the desks of Internet radio executives. It looks more than a little like an iPad if you ask me.
The Infocast has an 8 inch touchscreen that is larger than the Chumby or Sony Dash screens. It has access to Pandora and Shoutcast, New York Times, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Photobucket. It even has a sharing feature that enables folks to share apps, photos and more with friends that have similar devices.
CNET calls it a best of breed, and I’m thinking it sounds like a winner for tech savvy family members this Christmas.
There’s a lot of buzz about Internet radio in cars at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. Pandora is in the middle of most of it. They have announced a deal with Pioneer that will make it easier for Pandora listeners to use their iPhones to listen in their cars. Pioneer will market a Pandora enabled navigation system that will detect iPhones and iTouches and put the user’s Pandora settings on the nav screen. The system will cost about $1200.
Ford announced several new apps for its Sync connected in-car communication system. Openbeak will read twitter messages while you drive (and enable steering wheel controls like skipping forward or going back). Stitcher “allows listeners to create personalized, on-demand Internet radio stations with news, talk and entertainment programming. Within the Stitcher app, users choose the programs they want “stitched” together, and the app then streams that content to the user’s mobile device. Pandora, according to the press release, is ” the most popular Internet radio service in the world. Users simply enter a favorite song or artist into Pandora and the app quickly creates personalized radio stations, based on that musical style.”
Pandora Founder Tim Westergren told WSJ.com “Maybe a year ago people would have said Pandora is a computer thing, Now, “they’re beginning to realize that Internet radio is an anytime, anywhere thing.”
Good news about Pandora at CES wasn’t just about the car though. Sony is debuting a personal Internet viewer called the Dash, which resembles the Chumby, and enables more than 1000 Chumby apps as well as Youtube and Pandora.
Vevo, the music video site powered by Youtube launches today. The site will feature videos from three of the four major record labels – Sony, Universal and EMI. Warner Music Group is the only one not working with Vevo, although they are working with YouTube.
Professionally produced music videos are the most popular content viewed on YouTube. Now Vevo will offer music fans music video content, along with an online music store offering music downloads, merchandise created by artists, concert tickets and more. In the future a music video subscription service, offering both short videos as well as streamed concerts is likely to be added.
Vevo has announced a pre-launch partnership with CBS Interactive and will offer extensive music programming from the vaults of the CBS Interactive Music Group’s properties including Last.fm and more than 90 CBS RADIO music stations beginning next year. “Last.fm and CBS RADIO’s stations are producing a tremendous amount of unique video content every day – from long form concerts such as the “Live on Letterman” webcast series and annual special events, to acoustic performances and one on one interviews,” says David Goodman, President of CBS Interactive Music Group. “We’re excited to be part of the next generation of music video services, and look forward to all the benefits that go along with Vevo’s massive audience and reach including increased awareness of our efforts in this space to new revenue generating opportunities.”
The combination of high quality video along with lyrics and access to lots of information on favorite artists is expected to appeal to advertisers and command top dollars. The site will launch with partnerships with AT&T, McDonalds and Mastercard.