Sony hopes for music service upswing as it sells 5.3M PS4s

Sony (S SNE) has sold 5.3 million PS4s since it first introduced the game console in November of 2013, and now it’s hoping that all those new PS4 owners won’t just play games with the device.
Sony has especially high hopes for its music subscription service, dubbed Sony Music Unlimited. The Spotify competitor may not be very well known outside the Sony universe, but Anu Kirk, director of music services at Sony Entertainment, told me recently that the service has seen some significant usage uptick since the PS4 launch. PS4 users were responsible for 38 percent of all streams in January, Kirk said.
Kirk also told me that Sony Music Unlimited’s subscriber growth rate more than doubled since the launch of the PS4, but declined to comment on how many subscribers the service currently has. In the U.S., Sony’s service is believed to be far behind competitors like Spotify and Muve Music.
However, the situation is a bit different in Japan, where Spotify and others haven’t launched yet, making Sony the only major international subscription service. That’s why the company has high hopes for the launch of the PS4 in Japan next weekend, with Kirk telling me that his team has been preparing to bring music subscriptions to all those Japanese gamers as well.
The key here is to understand the local market, which is very different from other countries. “People listen to a lot more local music in Japan,” he said.