Sony Launches New Streaming Service

Sony is not only reaching for the sky, the tech giant is reaching for the “clouds” – literally.

On Wednesday, Sony heralded the initial roll out of a cloud-based music service first teased months ago that will effectively challenge iTunes for dominance in the digital music space.

Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity,” however, is more than just an iTunes knock-off. All content is streamed directly to users and will take advantage of so-called “cloud-storage” capabilities. Consequently, users will never have to download or purchase songs or albums.

Unfortunately, the paid subscription based service won’t initially be available on mobile devices like the iPhone. In fact, the service isn’t even widely available to people with computers in the US and Canada. Until 2011, North America will be left in the dark, along with Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and New Zealand.

As of December 23rd, only music lovers in the U.K. and Ireland can enjoy the new offering from Sony.

…a subscription gives users access to a catalog of about 6 million songs, which can be streamed across Sony’s Internet-connected devices like the PlayStation 3, personal computers and Bravia TVs. The service can be synchronized with a user’s existing music files, including iTunes.

Kazuo Hirai, Sony’s executive vice president, says the launch isn’t meant to take down iTunes right away. Instead, the new service will first serve to enhance the attractiveness of Sony-branded products. Eventually, however, the cloud-based digital music platform will “stand on its own.”