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Sony Aims to Pick Up Where Spotify Left Off

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Sony Music Unlimited

It was all too good to be true, so Spotify is turning off the music. Well, the free unlimited music at least. The six-month "honeymoon phase" of unlimited streaming Spotify gave to its listeners is quickly coming to a close for those early adopters who jumped in back in July. After the initial trial period, the free service can only be used for a total of 10 hours a month and you can only listen to a song five times a month. Even though this was stated in the terms of service, the cap on is coming off as a bit of a party-crasher for a lot of users.

Spotify CCO Kenneth Parks told the LA Times in November that the company strategy was to hook listeners into investing time making playlists and then "ask them to pay the price of a couple of sandwiches a month."

What seemed like a "no-brainer" back then might be open to some tinkering now that more players are entering the music streaming game. In a recent statement about the end of unlimited listening, Spotify did not mention specifics about the change of terms. Spotify currently offers unlimited, ad-free listening for $5 a month and on mobile devices for $10 a month.

One company eager to get a loyal base of hooked listeners is Sony. This week, the Japanese electronics brand announced the impending release of a free iPhone and iPad apps for Music Unlimited, their music streaming service with over 1 million users. Subscribers to their plan will be able to cache playslists to listen to whenever they want, even when offline. Sony aims to leverage its hardware and international presence to lure listeners who have yet to adopt a cloud service, as opposed to directly competing with Spotify and Rdio. And even though streaming seems to be the industry trend, Sony is not abandoning production of their Walkman: the company also revealed that a new generation of these music-listening devices with Android-based wi-fi capabilities will hit stores in early 2012.

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