Samsung (005930) on Tuesday announced the immediate availability of Music Hub, the company’s new streaming music service for the United States market that wraps iTunes, Spotify and Pandora into one great package. Initially available on the wildly popular Galaxy S III, Samsung’s mSpot-powered Music Hub brings a massive catalog of more than 19 million songs to users’ Samsung smartphones and to desktop Web browsers thanks to an HTML5-based companion site. Like iTunes, Music Hub allows users to purchase tracks and download them or store them in the cloud for streaming; like Spotify, Music Hub can stream an unlimited amount of on-demand music to smartphones or computers; and like Pandora, Samsung’s new service offers custom radio stations that provide endless streaming and help users discover new music.
I have been using Samsung’s Music Hub service for more than a week now and I must say, I’m impressed. Because Music Hub tries to be everything to everyone, it takes some time to get used to compared to a service like Pandora, which has a much sharper focus. Once I learned my way around the UI, however, the service was a pleasure to use.
I found almost everything I searched for in Samsung’s catalog of 19 million songs, which is powered by 7digital. The app’s settings allow users to select high-quality streaming or standard quality that comes in the form of 64kbps AAC+ files, and the latter is more than sufficient when data is at a premium. Purchases are downloaded as 320Kbps MP3 files.
Samsung offers two versions of its new Music Hub service, a free version that provides a music store, cloud locker and Web player, and a premium version for $9.99 per month that adds a scan and match feature to make your current music catalog available online, streaming radio and on-demand streaming, and customized recommendations that learn your taste and get better the more you use the service. Users can tap a light bulb icon while playing a song to access the recommendations function.
In a phone interview, Samsung executives made it quite clear that the company realizes it is not a leader where content services are concerned, but it is looking to change that. A comprehensive offering that combines a digital music store, a cloud locker, a streaming radio service and a music discovery engine is absolutely a solid start.
Samsung is offering a free 30-day trial of its premium service to U.S. Galaxy S III users, and the company’s full press release follows below.
Samsung Mobile Launches Music Hub in U.S. on Galaxy S III with a Free 30-Day Trial
3-in-1 mobile music solution lets you upload your music collection to the cloud, stream and purchase songs from an extensive catalog, and listen to personal radio
DALLAS (July 31, 2012) — Samsung Music Hub – the first completely integrated, all-in-one mobile music service – is now available in the U.S. on the Galaxy S® III. Music Hub simplifies and enhances the everyday experience of listening to music. The mobile music service provides a rich music experience for everyone whether users are an avid collector wanting easy access to their own music collection, someone with ever-changing music tastes, that likes to sample a broad selection of music and genres or who prefers radio.
A free 30-day trial of the service will be extended to new Music Hub users in the U.S. New subscribers also will be able to choose a free album that will be instantly available on their Galaxy S III and can also be uploaded to their personal music collections on the internet.
“We’re redefining mobile music by offering a more integrated experience on the handset and lifting the barriers to your music. Our service encompasses all music including your own collection in the cloud, a robust streaming catalog that is seamlessly integrated with a music store, and a personal radio service that caters to all of your music moods and genres,” said TJ Kang, senior vice president of the media services team for Samsung. “By providing a free album and trial, we hope Galaxy S III owners will experience for themselves a new, intuitive and easy way to discover music.”
Based on the technology services of mSpot, a leading mobile content service provider recently acquired by Samsung, the new Music Hub service will initially be available on Samsung Galaxy SIII devices sold through leading U.S. carriers. Galaxy S III users can access the application directly on select handsets and via the Samsung App Store or Google Play. More information on accessing Music Hub on select handsets can be found at: http://www.samsung.com/us/article/music-hub-all-the-music-you-want-all-in-one-place. This pairing with the Galaxy S III is ideal as the overall Music Hub experience has been optimized and specifically designed for mobile devices. Advanced streaming and downloading options let users save storage space, play music when offline, and cut down on mobile data usage. Audio settings are designed to prolong battery life and ensure smooth streaming even under spotty network coverage.
The Music Hub service will be offered as both a free and premium version.
Music Hub Store (free) allows users to:
- Access millions of songs from the 7digital catalog – which includes music from all four major labels (Sony, EMI, Universal, and Warner), plus select independents– from which users can buy tracks and albums, as well as listen to 30-second previews of all songs
- Store purchased music in the cloud, allowing it to automatically load on all registered Music Hub devices, while still being available on those registered devices locally for offline listening
- Use the Music Hub web player, in addition to the mobile app, with which users can access their music library and the Music Hub catalog/store online at http://www.musichub.com
Music Hub Premium ($9.99 per month, with a free 30-day trial offered) offers access to all of the free version features, as well as:
- A Scan & Match Cloud Locker: Upload music to the cloud to play it on any device registered with a Music Hub account. Music Hub also utilizes scan-and-match technology to decrease upload time and ensure high-quality playback. Any unmatched songs are directly uploaded from user’s library to the cloud offering 100 GB of storage for all unmatched songs, so users can access rare or personal recordings across their devices. Music Hub also automatically updates playlists or music purchases music updated across all registered devices.
- A catalog of millions of songs for purchase AND streaming: Enjoy full access to 7digital’s entire Music Hub catalog, including music from all four major labels, to stream or purchase, with unlimited plays and no advertisements. Search for new music, create playlists, share songs with friends, and view lyrics and album information.
- Personalized and Custom Radio: Create personal stations based on favorite songs and artists, or browse genre stations recommended and custom-created by the Music Hub team. Users also can tag songs they like to find and play back later.
- Customized Recommendations: Discover great new songs, artists, albums and radio stations all the time – and the more users listen, the better Music Hub’s recommendations will get.