Founder and CEO Rob Lewis told a press conference this morning (14 October) that the complexity of services today means that “streaming isn’t working”, claiming that take-up currently stands at just 8% of consumers.
The system, which will be available ahead of Christmas, plugs directly into a Wi-Fi-connected TV and is controlled via a wireless remote that doubles as a microphone, allowing users to select music by speaking into the device.
A 12-month subscription fee is effectively imbedded into the £179 device cost. After a year users can continue to access some aspects of the service for free and for a yearly charge of £60 they can reactivate the premium package. There will be no advertising on the service for the first year of use, after which if the yearly fee is not paid users will be able to continue using the curated content and will be shown full-screen TV ads, but on-demand services will be restricted.
“The truth is we’ve made music far too complicated, too expensive, too complicated to set up and to complicated to use. It’s just too painful,” said Lewis who designed the product to get older, less tech savvy audiences into music streaming.
The most popular ways to listen to music at home are still radio (52%) and CDs (42%), according to research conducted by YouGov on behalf of Electric Jukebox, which also finds that streaming hardware solutions like Sonos are used by just 6% of consumers.
Artists including Robbie Williams, Sheryl Crow and Alesha Dixon, as well as actor and presenter Stephen Fry, are on board and have curated a series of ‘mix tapes’ for users to listen too.
Williams said: “This makes streaming music so easy everyone can do it. You don’t need a manual to work it – just pick it up, plug it in and start playing.”
Lewis will be making a separate announcement about the catalogue and licensing agreements shortly.