Tag Archives | Streaming Music

Sony Dives Into Subscription Music, Misses the Point

Sony’s “Music Unlimited Powered By Qriocity” doesn’t roll off the tongue like MOG, Rdio, Rhapsody or Zune Pass, but it’s essentially the same subscription music service — with one major drawback.

The streaming music service launches today in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and next year in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and New Zealand. For 4 pounds per month, users get ad-free radio with personalized stations and categories, kind of like Pandora. For 10 pounds per month, Music Unlimited Powered By Qriocity (MUPbQ?) adds on-demand access to more than 6 million songs, playlists and all.

Here’s the problem: For now, the service is tied to Sony devices, such as Bravia TVs and Blu-ray players and the Playstation 3. An Android app is supposedly in development, but getting on a smartphone platform doesn’t solve Sony’s problem.

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Streaming Music Now Neck-and-Neck With Downloads in U.S.

Fascinating finding from the folks at the NPD Group: Americans now stream as much music as they download, at least on computers.

NPD (via Evolver.fm) says downloaded music accounted for 30 percent of listening on Macs and PCs in August, compared to 29 percent in March. Over the same period, streams increased from 25 percent to 29 percent of computer listening behavior. Judging from those statistics, streams could leap ahead of downloads next time NPD takes measurements.

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Groveshark's Brief App Store Stint is Over

The iPhone App Store now plays host to many kinds of subscription music apps, but Grooveshark is no longer one of them.

Apple brought the axe down on Grooveshark after five days in the App Store, and all it took was one complaint from Universal Music Group’s U.K. office, according to Grooveshark’s official blog. “This comes as an absolute surprise to us, and we are not sleeping until we figure out exactly how to fix this—and get Grooveshark for iPhone back in the App Store,” says the Grooveshark crew.

Grooveshark for iPhone was like a lighter, less-committed version of MOG or Rdio. For $3 per month, users could search for and play any song on-demand, and create playlists of their favorites, but the app didn’t allow users to create full music libraries, like you can with the aforementioned $10 per month apps. Grooveshark’s website does include these capabilities, and the ad-supported version is free.

Grooveshark’s rates are low because it doesn’t license music from any major labels except EMI, which negotiated a deal after suing the service. Instead, music is uploaded by users at their own risk and shared with the masses. I don’t know why Grooveshark has escaped the wrath of other labels, but I do know labels are particularly demanding with mobile phones. This is why Rdio costs $10 per month for smartphone access instead of $5 for PC-only, and why Napster acknowledged nearly a year ago that high licensing fees for mobile streaming would make its $5 per month plan impossible.

Curiously, Grooveshark remains available for Android, Blackberry, WebOS and Symbian phones. Maybe Apple was the only company Universal complained to, but unless the label thinks it can cripple Grooveshark without any further action, I doubt it will be the last.

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Slacker’s iPhone Music App Gives Pandora a Run For Its Money

slacker-logoSlacker, the nifty personalized online radio service that’s available on the Web and on a dedicated portable player, is making its way onto phones. Last week at CES, the company released a version that runs on most modern BlackBerry phones, and today brought an iPhone edition. I haven’t tried the BlackBerry one yet, but the iPhone one is good. Good enough that it’s lured me from Pandora, everyone’s favorite iPhone music service, for the moment, at least.

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