Sony to shutter iTunes & Beats Music competitor Music Unlimited, partner with Spotify

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Struggling Japanese electronics maker Sony has conceded defeat in the digital music market, announcing on Wednesday that it will close its cross-platform Music Unlimited service at the end of March and refer customers to another iTunes & Beats Music competitor, Spotify.

In an announcement published on the official Playstation Blog, Eric Lempel, vice president of Sony Network Entertainment revealed that Music Unlimited will close in all 19 countries it serves on March 29. Music Unlimited debuted on Apple's iOS platform with a dedicated app in 2012.

Replacing the subscription service is a partnership with Spotify, which has been branded as "Spotify on PlayStation Music." Sony will initially launch the service on its PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 consoles, before later arriving on Xperia smartphones and tablets.

Sony's unlimited music subscriptions never gained much traction against the likes of Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, or even the iTunes Radio streaming service, which Apple debuted in 2013. Apple also entered the on-demand streaming service, taking on the likes of Spotify, with its acquisition of Beats Music last year.

The digital music market has been transitioning away from song and album sales, which Apple still offers on the iTunes Store, and toward subscription streaming models. While Apple remains the leader in digital music sales, its iTunes Radio product lags behind Pandora in personalized Internet radio, while Spotify remains the market leader ahead of Beats Music.

Rumors have suggested that Apple plans to rebrand its recently acquired Beats Music service, bringing it under the iTunes umbrella. It's been reported that Beats Music will relaunch this year, completely rebuilt and integrated into iTunes.


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