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Qriocity Music Unlimited Service - What You Get For Your Money

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


There are two price tiers to the Music Unlimited service: a £3.99 30-day Basic plan, and a £9.99 30-day Premium plan. Subscribers to the basic plan get:

- Music Sync, which scans the hard drive of your PC (not Mac, as discussed) and adds details of your existing music tracks and playlists to your personal music library in the cloud. You can then listen to those tracks and playlists using your TV, PS3 or other Internet-enabled compatible devices.

- Basic channels, where you can enjoy a variety of advert-free music channels grouped by era, genre and mood, or SensMe, which compiles playlists personalised to your identified tastes. Rather crucially, though, for basic subscribers on-demand playback of each track is limited to just 30 seconds. Er, great.

Make the leap to the Premium plan, and the system starts to make more sense. So much so, in fact, that the Basic plan becomes clearly just a teaser designed to persuade you that actually, you really need to spend a tenner a month for the full Premium deal.

With this in mind, it rather sticks in the craw that you won't get a refund on any unused portion of a Basic Subscription if you decide to go Premium part way through a month on the Basic plan. Cheers. On the upside, Sony is at least currently letting you try the full Premium system for a full 30 days for free before you commit to it.

Anyway, getting back to what the Premium plan offers, you get all the Basic plan benefits, plus:

- Premium channels, which offer a variety of 'step up' music content including the Global Top 100 compiled from the music service library.

- On Demand Playback, where you can pick and choose tracks from the service's entire music library and create your own playlist.

You can initially set up your account on your PC, TV or PS3 - though personally we'd suggest just doing it on your PC first, as you'll have to use this at some point anyway if you want to get the best value out of Music Unlimited by letting it scan your PC music content.

This brings us to another huge catch, though: namely, that while Music Unlimited will scan your PC and add details of your existing music tracks and playlists to your personal music library in its 'cloud', it will only do it with tracks that don't have DRM protection and are already within the Music Unlimited library. Which effectively means that potentially large chunks of the stuff you've already bought via or added to (eg, from CDs) other music software platforms will be unavailable on your new Music Unlimited system.

So far, so rather frustrating. But the frown did at least disappear from our faces for a while once we clocked its rather lovely interface.

The key point is that unlike the rival PC-focused platforms, Music Unlimited has been built from the ground up with TV use in mind, and the result is an onscreen menu system that in most ways is really outstandingly easy to use as well as looking cool and cutting edge thanks to the extremely high quality of the record sleeve artwork shown with each track. The menus react quickly and sensitively to your navigational commands, too.

The photos accompanying this article pretty much tell the whole story of the MU operating system, though for descriptions' sake we might add that its approach of presenting rows of icons you can scroll quickly along, with the selected option popping up large while smaller icons to either side show the next options, is very reminiscent of the system Microsoft uses on the Xbox 360.


January 21, 2011, 1:12 pm

"Even better, it was a Christmas present exclusive to the UK and Ireland; for once the rest of the world was (and still is) having to wait while we get our hands on a bit of new technology first."

Funny. Meanwhile, back in parts of "the rest of the world", we're still waiting for such technological achievements as Last.fm, Pandora and even iTunes Store...

Hamish Campbell

January 21, 2011, 1:41 pm

Any chance of a qrocity on demand video review?

Hey look, first time posting about an online service without complaining that it's not available here in Denmark!!


January 21, 2011, 2:43 pm

I do wonder how much demand there is for controlling the music you listen to thru a TV screen and remote control. No matter how pretty the album art is on the screen the average tv remote is going to be the weak link in the chain. If you're going to have to go to your PC to do anything useful with the playlist then it rather defeats the point.

People have gotten used to scroll wheels and touch interfaces for controlling their music playback - I don't see it taking off unless Sony are going to provide smartphone or tablet apps or an open remote control api for 3rd party developers to do so.


January 21, 2011, 5:25 pm

@Epic - I regularly listen to albums on CD or on the computer. Last time I checked a mouse and scroll wheel was not an essential part of the process!

I do take your point on the playlist side of things though. But then if there are quick search functions using "txt chat" input like you do on a Sky remote then it shouldnt be that much of an inconveinience.


January 21, 2011, 5:38 pm

Again, I know I'm on the naughty step, but fwiw this service is unfinished. I was speaking to some people at Sony who said they want to expand the catalogue to 20m tracks by the end of March so the library will be a lot more comprehensive. Also you can skip forwards in playlists using R1. It is actually a feature of the service that it has unlimited track skipping in the £9.99 package, you just have to wait for the playlist to load and then you can skip using R1.

Hamish Campbell

January 21, 2011, 6:41 pm


R1 on your tv remote?

Caffeine Dependent

January 21, 2011, 7:28 pm

"The basic idea of Music Unlimited is sound."

Best sentence in the whole article.


January 21, 2011, 7:59 pm

I'm sorry, I'm not sure I get it - are you telling me they want you to pay £3.99 a month to listen to your own music?


January 26, 2011, 11:07 pm

Hi, just signed up for the 30 day trial to give it a try out - not sure what the reviewer was doing wrong but I can skip forward/back as much as I want on the premium channels. Like what I've seen so far, with one exception. If you put an album into your library, it plays the tracks in a random order rather than the order they appear on the original CD/as intended by the artist - for some albums this is a major shortfall. I've put a query into their tech support - will see how responsive they are.

For Epic - if I want to listen to high quality music 0 I'm not going to do that on my computer set-up in the study - the TV/Hi-fi integration in the living room is where I want to do it.


January 28, 2011, 4:46 pm

As follow-up, got a prompt feedback - good, answer though "We apologize for the inconvenience. Kindly note that when playing back an album, all the tracks play randomly and not in the order listed on the original CD’s. Have a great day sir." So you have to playback on "shuffle" or go to the effort of creating individual playlists for every album. Personally I view this as a close to fatal flaw for the kind of music I want to listen to.


February 3, 2011, 6:09 pm

Apparently there is an app for this Music Unlimited service on Android and iOS devices...

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