Simplifying streaming, Electric Jukebox enters market

 14 Oct 2015 - 17:06

Simplifying streaming, Electric Jukebox enters market

NEW YORK: Musicians including Robbie Williams threw their weight Wednesday behind a new streaming service that aims to bring the fast-growing sector to low-tech listeners.

Called Electric Jukebox, the platform is a data stick that plugs into the back of a television and is then operated by a microphone-enabled remote control.

Electric Jukebox's founders hope to appeal to listeners who would appreciate the vast possibilities of streaming -- which offers unlimited music on-demand online -- but find Internet applications cumbersome or prefer to listen from a couch in front of the TV.

Electric Jukebox, much like other streaming sites, will be updated daily to offer new music and will feature mixtapes put together by artists including Williams, the English pop singer of Take That fame, and US folk rocker Sheryl Crow.

"Listening to music and sharing those experiences together is what life's all about. With headphones and iPhones we've somehow lost all that," Crow said in a statement.

Electric Jukebox will initially be available only in the United States and Britain at a cost of $229 or £179, which includes one year of service.

Unlike the monthly plans of most streaming sites such as Spotify, Electric Jukebox will renew annually, with a listener needing to pay $60 in the United States or £60 in Britain for an additional year's service.

Based in London, Electric Jukebox's advisory board includes longtime U2 manager Paul McGuinness and veteran Warner Music executive Rob Dickins.

Rob Lewis, chief executive officer of the Electric Jukebox Company, said the service hoped to appeal to the vast majority of music fans who have not embraced streaming, despite the sector's rapid growth.

"There used to be 200 million people buying CDs every month and many more buying CDs occasionally" around the world, he said.

"After 10 years of streaming only 40 million have converted to streaming subscription services because of complexity, set-up difficulty and because of the fear of recurring credit card-based subscriptions," he said.

Spotify, the largest streaming service, says it has 75 million users but only 20 million who pay subscriptions for unlimited, advertisement-free content.

Swedish-founded Spotify and its rivals -- such as Rhapsody, Deezer, Rdio and Google Music -- generally require a user to install an application and provide credit card details.

Installation normally takes just minutes, but requires a smartphone or computer.

Streaming has become increasingly competitive with Apple Music and rapper Jay Z's Tidal both making splashy launches this year with promises of exclusive content.