Sony’s Music Unlimited service powered by Qriocity is now available for Android smartphones. The service originally made its debut in Europe back in December 2010 and launched in the United States this past January. The Music Unlimited for Android app comes with a 30-day free trial, granting users access to more than 7 million songs that can be synced from a PC. After the 30-day trial users will have to plop down $3.99 or $9.99 per month for the basic or full blown premium services, respectively. As you may assume, the service requires that you create a Qriocity account, or use an existing account. That has us a bit wary to give the app a whirl ourselves, given Sony’s recent massive security breach — although, to its credit, the firm did say that it’s ramping up security its measures. Music Unlimited is available for phones running Android 2.1 to 2.3.3 from the Android Market now. More →
Companies like Apple and Google are doing their best to put together music products that compete directly with Spotify’s Web-based music streaming product. While reports suggest record labels are making the process as difficult as possible for these giants, Spotify just took the fight to their home turf. The company on Wednesday launched a new music download service that attempts to make Spotify “the only music player you’ll ever need.” Spotify users can now purchase and download full playlists comprised of any songs from the company’s 9 million-track catalog for as low as £0.50 per song. And as an extra little slap, Spotify’s new feature allows playlists to be synchronized with the iPod classic, iPod nano or iPod shuffle right from within the Spotify desktop app. Spotify still isn’t available in the U.S., but rumors suggest the company is closer than ever to striking deals with record companies that will allow it to launch its popular service stateside. Hit the break for the full press release and a video that explains the company’s new download service. More →
Shazam and eBay have teamed up to offer Android users a nice freebie. From now until January 1, 2012, Android Shazam users can enjoy unlimited song tagging without having to buy Shazam Encore. “This is the first exclusive App sponsorship deal agreed by eBay anywhere in the world, and the first time Shazam has selected a partner to provide free services to their customers,” reads the press release. The company’s self-titled, free application gives users the ability to tag up to five songs each month, after which Shazam Encore must be purchased. “In addition, we’re pleased to offer Android Shazamers access to the Shazam Friends social feature, allowing them to share their music discoveries with their Facebook friends and family while discovering exciting new music and content themselves in a continuously updating feed.” The full press release is after the break.
According to new third quarter figures issued by market research firm NPD Group, Apple’s iTunes music store now accounts for 66.2% of online music purchases, up from 63.2% in the same quarter last year. Apple’s biggest competitor in the space, Amazon, currently holds 13.3% of the market. Executives from major labels suggest the disparity could be even larger, with Amazon owning just 6% to 10% of the market while Apple’s share is nearly 90%. Pricing, often a major factor in retail sales, does not appear to have a major impact on digital music sales. Amazon’s strategy, beyond various distribution deals, is to undercut iTunes. Amazon’s average selling price for popular albums is significantly lower than the $9.99 to $14.99 Apple often charges, and even deeper discounts can be found regularly through promotions like “Daily Deals.” Despite Amazon’s best efforts, however, iTunes’ digital market share continues to grow and Apple’s service remains the global leader in music sales, having surpassed Walmart to take the No. 1 spot in 2008. More →
Things like this happen in three stages: 1) You find out it’s going to happen. 2) You curse Apple. 3) You accept the fact that Apple is king when it comes to making money and cough up the extra cash. Masked as part of a trade off with major labels to facilitate DRM-free iTunes tracks, Apple announced back in January that it would introduce a new variable pricing structure where tracks would be $0.69, $0.99 or $1.29 depending on popularity. Today, the new tiered pricing has gone live. As you can see above, it apparently doesn’t take much for some tracks to hit the $1.29 price point — track two has its popularity indicator just over half full and it’s already there. For some however, the new pricing model could be a good thing. The super cool loners among you who are into niche genres like uber-unsing-emo-screamo-core, may find your monthly iTunes bills dropping thanks to the new $0.69 tier for less popular music. Good luck though; even the most obscure bands and tracks we dug up in a few minutes of searching were listed at $0.99 despite having no bars in the popularity column. Anyone find a $0.69 track? Let us know in the comments section.