Sony is betting its music streaming future on Spotify. Today the company quietly announced that it will be shutting down its unsuccessful Music Unlimited service on March 29th, 2015. In its place, Sony plans to launch a new service called PlayStation Music that uses none other than Spotify as its backbone. The app will debut on PlayStation 4, PS3, plus Xperia smartphones and tablets this spring. If web and desktop PC apps are also in the plans, those will be coming later. PlayStation Music will be available in 41 markets to start including the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil. Music Unlimited has only made it to 19 countries so far during its underwhelming run.
A sensible and encouraging move from Sony
"PlayStation Network users will enjoy the convenience of linking your accounts to Spotify, making it easy to sign-up with your existing ID and subscribe to Spotify’s Premium service," Sony said. You'll be able to listen to Spotify tracks in the background while playing games, and Sony is promising that PlayStation Music will offer over 30 million songs and 1.5 billion playlists. Again, most of that is Spotify doing the heavy lifting; Sony's finally conceding that other companies are better at making great software — for TVs, too — and placing its bets on perhaps the most successful of music apps. Existing Spotify playlists from your friends and also curated collections will be available on PlayStation just as they are now from your smartphone.
Sony says that "other great features that will be available exclusively through Spotify on PlayStation Music" will be revealed as the release approaches. If you've got a Music Unlimited subscription through February 28th, Sony will automatically extend that so you can keep listening until the shutdown in March. Nabbing Spotify is a significant win for Sony, as the service still hasn't made its way to Microsoft's Xbox One console. (Microsoft also operates its own premium streaming service in Xbox Music.) We've reached out to Sony, Spotify, and Microsoft for more details on whether Spotify will be a PlayStation exclusive.