Sony brings streaming music service to the iPhone

The company will offer a free app for its Music Unlimited service, the basic monthly plan for which costs $US4

Sony on Friday released an iPhone app to access its streaming Music Unlimited service, part of its efforts to expand its online platforms to devices from rival manufacturers.

The app allows users to listen to and manage playlists and channels. The service is already available on Android phones and PCs, as well as the company's tablets, Walkman music players, home stereos and PlayStation game consoles.

The Tokyo-based company is emphasizing its online platforms as part of its turnaround plan, as it is the only major electronics company with its own major music and movie divisions. Music Unlimited is part of the Sony Entertainment Network, the Tokyo-based company's brand for its online music, movie, gaming and photo-sharing platforms.

Sony has begun to expand support for devices from other makers as part of the new effort. Its PlayStation Suite is a push to put its game platform on Android devices, for example. In other areas, the company still locks users into its ecosystem - the "nasne" digital media hub, to launch in July in Japan, streams to its computers, smartphones and game consoles but has little support for other devices.

Music Unlimited is a paid streaming music service that offers various music channels and the ability to create playlists. Its Android app also allows songs to be saved locally for offline listening.

Music Unlimited is available in 16 countries, including the US, the UK, Spain and France. Registered users can access the service from anywhere in the world, unlike online music offerings such as Spotify and Pandora.

In the US, the basic plan costs $US3.99 and a premium plan is available for $US9.99. The pricier plan includes items such as easier access to individual songs and exclusive music channels.

The new app also works on the iPod touch, although it is not available on the iPad. It will be available from Apple's App Store from Friday.

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