Sony’s Music Unlimited spreads its wings at MIDEM 2011

Get excited, it’s another post by Mark where he’s been on a press trip! (OK, stop rubbing it in [that’s what she said!].Ed.) Last weekend, I accompanied our client Sony Europe as they visited the MIDEM 2011 conference in Cannes. If you haven’t heard of MIDEM before, it’s an annual music industry conference where movers and shakers come together to talk about issues being faced, unveil new products and ideas, and showcase forthcoming bands in music.

Sony was there to support its recently unveiled cloud-based music streaming service: Music Unlimited. It’s a new platform which allows you to stream music on a range of Sony networked products, as well as through your PS3 (and any PC). The service went live in the UK in December and is now available to those of you based in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

President of Sony Networked Entertainment, Tim Schaaff, who is the main man behind Music Unlimited, flew over from California to engage in some of the key debates of the digital elements of MIDEM. Following an interesting discussion around the future of music in the cloud (featuring Sony Music’s Thomas Hesse, more from him later), Tim took to the stage to be interviewed about Music Unlimited and the Qriocity platform in general. MIDEM have the full interview on their YouTube channel, and we live-tweeted the conversation on the Sony Europe Twitter stream:

The following day started off with a very special visitor to the Sony booth at MIDEM – the French minister for Culture and Communication, Frédéric Mitterrand. He had expressed an interest in the service and wanted to see how it worked, so he was given a private demonstration of Music Unlimited by one its developers. Let’s hope the network access in the Minister’s office allows him to stream his favourite tracks at work!

Next was a very special Q&A put together by Sony, which brought the major players from the four major record labels into the same room to discuss Music Unlimited and music streaming in general. Alongside Tim Schaaff and Shawn Layden (both from Sony Networked Entertainment or SNE), we had: Mark Pibe, global head of digital music at EMI; Michael Nash, EVP of digital strategy and business development at Warner Music Group; Rob Wells, president of the global digital business at Universal Music Group; Thomas Hesse, president of global digital business at Sony Music Entertainment.

Again, the event was live tweeted by Sony Europe, and the MIDEM blog has a transcript.

Hopefully for those of you into music and thinking about the future of music online, these discussions are interesting and stimulating. I should also add that you can currently enjoy a free 30 day trial of Music Unlimited’s premium service – head over to to find out more.

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