PlayStation Music Unlimited has been given the axe, and today we see Sony ushering in its replacement with the arrival of Spotify on PS3 and PS4.
For the past six months Sony and Spotify have been working together closely to build the new console app, which will be a big part of Sony's new PlayStation Music service. The service will be free to both free and paid users, although Spotify Premium subscribers will be the ones to get the full ad-free experience along with the option to stream higher quality (320kbps) music.
We were lucky enough to have an early play with the app, and the first thing that struck us was how much of a distinct PS4 feel it has; everything is arranged in tiles on a grid, and moving between artists, playlists should feel intuitive to any PlayStation 4 user.
The app is divided into three sections - curated playlists, moods and your music - and has the ability to search for any song on the service. Once you've signed into your Spotify account you'll have access to all your starred music, as well as the ability to start building a queue of music.
One thing that's missing right now is access to your custom playlists, however all of Spotify's own playlists are available to browse and choose from. The Radio feature is also MIA, though Spotify hinted that this might be something we see added down the line.
But Sony and Spotify are most proud of Background Play: you can now soundtrack your gaming sessions by having Spotify running in the background. As we discovered when testing out the service with Infamous Second Son, the game's sound effects will still be audible when the music is running, but you'll now have your soundtrack of choice. Hozier's Take Me to Church certainly gave the game a different mood when we put the two together.
Which brings us to controls. Spotify can be controlled without going back to the dashboard - all you do is hold down the home button, which opens up a new menu that hosts basic playback and volume controls.
When you're in the app itself the controls are pretty straightforward. As this has been designed for the big screen experience, navigation through artists, playlists and genres are nice and simple, while a double tap of down on the D-pad will take you to your queue.
You've also got the option to control Spotify through a Bluetooth-connected phone running the Spotify app (through Spotify Connect) - necessary if you want to change playlists, useful if you fancy giving a friend control of the tunes.
Spotify and PS3 and PS4 will be available starting today. As for Xbox One users, this deal between Sony and Spotify is an exclusive one and Tim Grimsditch, Spotify's Head of Global Product Marketing, told TechRadar that Spotify wasn't ready to comment on how long this partnership might last for.
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