Thursday, March 27, 2014

Samsung Spills The Milk With Its New Streaming Service

Milk Music image
Just what the world needs, another streaming service. Samsung recently announced that it launched a free online streaming music service that's only available in the US and on its Galaxy phones. The service is called Milk Music, and offers over 200 curated streaming channels free of charge to Samsung customers.

Milk Music is certainly a curious name (although it does bring the widely known “Got Milk?” campaign by the American Dairy Association to mind), but you have to wonder why Samsung would even dream of entering a space with such low margins and high competition. Okay, I can think of some.

First of all, Samsung didn’t have to build the infrastructure for the service, relying instead on Slacker Radio to provide the backbone. This is actually a good strategic move for both parties in that it moves Slacker closer to its major competitor Pandora while Samsung gets Milk users to stay within the controlled Galaxy environment, at least at first. Being powered by Slacker also takes Samsung off the hook for any expensive licensing deals with the labels. That much makes sense.

But that’s where it also gets curious. One of the things about non-interactive radio-style streaming services is that you’re not supposed to be able to skip a song, rewind it, or choose what you want. Milk Music is somewhat of a hybrid in that you get six skips per hour, can choose to “Never Play” a particular song, and can listen to a previously played song from a list of the last 500 aired. This obviously straddles the line between interactive and non-interactive, with each paying a different royalty rate. Are we seeing yet another streaming category emerging? Read more on Forbes.

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