Whether or not consumers want another streaming radio service is irrelevant. Samsung just launched one called Milk Music. It’s a free, no-advertising-included radio play that offers consumers yet one more option for discovering and listening to music on mobile devices.
Although it’s unclear why Samsung is calling its radio service Milk, the company isn’t building its service from the ground up. Rather, the consumer electronics giant is relying on Slacker, an Apple, Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio competitor, to power its mobile music service.
Gregory Lee, president and CEO of Samsung Telecommunications America and Samsung Electronics North America Headquarters, was full of hyperbole when he announced Milk. He called it a “fresh approach to music” and bragged about how it reflects the company’s “leadership” and focus on “creating best-in-class consumer experiences.” He also used words like “amazing” and “rich” to describe the music experience, but in reality it’s not much different than anything else on the market.
Nothing Particularly New
Again, Slacker powers Milk, which is only currently available on Galaxy mobile devices via Google Play. Samsung promised to offer unique music programming from top selling and emerging artists exclusively through Milk starting in April. But that’s nothing particularly new, either.
Samsung, of course, doesn’t see it that way. The company said Milk’s “distinctive dial design” offers a “more intuitive and natural way” to listen to music. The dial displays up to nine genre-based stations and lets you turn the dial, giving it a retro feel, albeit digital. But it’s not groundbreaking.
One thing Samsung does that Apple doesn’t is remove the log-in requirements. So far as the music selection, Milk offers 200 genre-based stations and 13 million songs and promises fewer repeats. You can create personal stations based on your favorite songs and albums, like other services. So why is Samsung making this play? When we asked Ross Rubin, a principal analyst at Reticle Research, he told us it’s a value-add.
What’s Samsung’s Motive?
“Milk falls in between Apple iTunes Radio and Nokia’s MixRadio,” Rubin said. “The motives are different. Apple is trying to support but also migrate the franchise it’s long had in downloads with iTunes and also to support the iTunes-in-the-cloud subscriptions. If you pay monthly you don’t have any ads in the service.”
Unlike iTunes Radio, Rubin explained, Milk doesn’t have ads. But Milk doesn’t offer a key benefit of MixRadio -- the ability to store playlists off line. That’s a key differentiator, especially in markets where cellular access is expensive and slow. Consumers can enjoy their music without being connected to a network. Again, Samsung’s motive seems to be purely providing a value-add for its Android-powered mobile device users.
“There is a lot of competition, not only from Pandora but also tune-in offerings that stream terrestrial radio like iHeartRadio and, of course, the on-demand music services, some of which also offer free streaming like Rhapsody and Spotify,” Rubin said. “It is a bit unusual for an Android handset company to have its own content services.”
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