The question is whether a price war is good for anyone but music fans. Just this morning, Sony started offering their ‘Music Unlimited’ subscription service for $41.99 a year, which boils down to $3.50 a month.
The catch? According to preliminary details shared with Digital Music News, you must be a PlayStation Plus subscriber to get this rate. The Plus membership costs costs $50 a year (or, $4 a month). But even if you aren’t Plus subscriber, Sony is low-balling the price to just $59.99 a year, or $5 a month.
In other words, cheap, no matter how you walk in the door. Which introduces the question: is this becoming a desperate attempt to capture consumers who increasingly don’t want to pay – at all? Sony’s move slashes a low-balling, $7.50 introductory offer from Google Play Music All Access, and raises serious questions about where the price-grovelling will ultimately land.
Sony’s Music Unlimited has little awareness, at least compared to giants like Spotify and Deezer. But this is a serious play: Unlimited has 20 million songs and a presence throughout North America, Europe and South America. Meanwhile, Rhapsody’s all access price remains in the $15 monthly range.
And with that, here’s a sampling of pricing from various streaming services, from cheapest to most expensive.
YouTube: completely free (limited portability)
Grooveshark: completely free (limited portability)
Spotify: Free w/ ads; $4.99 a month for PC/laptop; $9.99 for all devices.
Deezer: Free w/ ads; $4.99/mo. for PC/laptop (no ads); $9.99 for all devices.
Sony Music Unlimited: $3.50 w/ PlayStation Plus, $5 a month otherwise.
Rdio: $4.99 web-only; $9.99 unlimited devices; $17.99 family play (two subscriptions).
Google Play Music All Access:$7.99 a month for All Access (introductory); offer reverts to $9.99 in July.
Muve Music: $50 one-time fee, bundled into broader, pre-paid mobile plan.
Rhapsody: $9.99 for one mobile device; $14.99 for three. (note: $9.17/$12.50 a month on an annualized basis).
Sirius XM Radio: $14.49 a month for web-based access; to $17.99 for complete, web+radio access.
Photo credit: KB35@flickr (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)