How we listen to music has gone through more changes in the last decade than ever before and the landscape continues to morph at a pace that makes it difficult to keep up. Sony, a company that is as embedded in the music industry as they are televisions is on the verge of launching their own on demand music service called Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity. The question is how successful this launch will be.
The advantage Sony has is that they will embed the technology and service into the hardware they produce. If you have a Sony PlayStation, BluRay player, television, or any of Sony's Internet capable devices, you will be able to subscribe and enjoy not only their upcoming Unlimited Music service, but their already launched Video On Demand service as well. Sony has name recognition, is already in the music and video business, and owns an impressive music library, making over 6 million songs available at launch.
It is commonly thought that the cream of the crop in radio is in the automobile. Traditionally this is where most music listening does happen. Home music listening is often a second thought for many, but there are plenty of services that are making inroads into an easy to use platform that consumers seem to love. Streaming content on your computer has now shifted to the inclusion of your home theater system. Pandora, Last FM, and others have had success in becoming integrated into gaming systems in much the same way that Netflix did. Now Sony, perhaps seeing the potential here, is getting ready to offer consumers easy access to audio as well as video entertainment.
For Sirius XM investors the natural question is what exactly will Satellite Radio 2.0 deliver, will it be as good as some of these other services, and will it address their current technological shortcomings on the Internet Radio front? The most likely way Sirius XM will be able infiltrate the home is via their streaming Sirius XM Internet Radio service. Let's face it, running a satellite antenna to a clear view of the sky is not exactly the most clean cut solution to getting Sirius XM indoors.
The competitive landscape continues to change on a weekly basis. Now more than ever we need to see a glimpse of what Satellite Radio 2.0 will deliver. Sony is not an upstart like Slacker. Sony is a multi-billion dollar company that already has products in a large number of consumer homes. If their music and video services are priced right and consumer friendly, they could gain traction. Some people find it easy to dismiss the Pandora's and Slackers of the world. Dismissing Sony's entrance into this market would be foolish.
Sony will likely have challenges getting into the automobile where AM, FM, and Satellite reign supreme, but as we all know, technology never sleeps. Sirius XM has their work cut out for them to remain on top, but in the end should be more than capable of responding, particularly since they are now becoming a profitable company.
Position - No Position Sony, Long Sirius XM Satellite Radio