Samsung revamps Music Hub to take on iTunes
Promises integrated content experience, harnessing its mSpot acquisition; service to debut in Europe with Galaxy SIII
Published: 30 May, 2012
Samsung has revamped and relaunched its Music Hub, and will unleash it with the new Galaxy S III superphone as a full frontal attack on iTunes.
Of course, iTunes challenges have a high failure rate, but Samsung has far more brand power in handsets than it did when the Hub first appeared on selected devices two years ago. It says its new-look offering is the "first completely integrated, all-in-one mobile music service", providing a library of 19m tracks which can be downloaded or streamed. There is a free option and a €9.99 monthly deal for unlimited streaming and cloud music storage.
The library is powered by Samsung's recent mSpot acquisition while the library comes form 7digital. Music Hub puts Samsung firmly into the cloud music space targeted by Apple, Amazon and Google. Like Microsoft's more fledgling mobile content activities, Samsung's strategy revolves around creating hubs for each type of media - it also has versions for video and books, which we can assume will get a relaunch soon too - which will, over time, become more integrated with one another, and support cloud storage with access from many screens from handsets to TVs. Samsung is the only big name to be a big supplier of all those screens itself, though Apple and Google are chasing on the TV front and Amazon may launch a handset this year.
Despite an ambitious strategy, also echoed by Sony, Samsung has not yet made significant consumer impact with its digital media offerings. The success of the Galaxy family will help, since there will be a natural tendency for its legions of users to adopt in-built content offerings, but the Korean vendor's brand remains heavily associated with hardware wizardry rather than content.
Music Hub aims to start to change that perception in the wake of Samsung's purchase of a real iTunes mimic, mSpot. The upgraded service will debut in the main European markets (the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy) this week, along with the Galaxy SIII, and then will continue to other, as-yet unspecified territories.
Samsung says Music Hub is "optimized for mobile," with "advanced streaming and downloading options" designed to save storage space, support offline playback, and minimise mobile data usage. Settings are tailored to prolong battery life and ensure smooth streaming "even under spotty network coverage". There is also an online version for PCs.