Pricey Electric Jukebox Described As "Cheap Music" Device Finally Rolled Out

Written by David Richards     15/10/2015 | 08:50 | Category: MUSIC & VIDEO

An Electric Jukebox that has been described as a low cost new music streaming device and is tipped to be launched in Australia in 2016 has been rolled out in the UK and USA.

Pricey Electric Jukebox Described As "Cheap Music" Device Finally Rolled Out
The Company claims that the new device is aimed at people who think Apple Music and Spotify are too expensive and too complicated. The Electric Jukebox device plugs into the back of your TV (a bit like Google Chromecast) and connects to the Wi-Fi to transform a TV into a digital jukebox, without the need for speakers or additional materials.

The British company said that users will have instant access to millions of albums, which can be streamed over the internet in CD quality for an annual fee of $127 which is not cheap.

On top of that users will have to stump up $379 for a device that is not dissimilar to a Chromecast device that sells for $49.

The first year's subscription is included in the $379 cost of the device. Every year consumers will have to pay $127 to access to content.

Electric Jukebox comes with a wand-like remote control that works like a Wii controller, allowing users to navigate the music service on their TV screen by pointing and pressing.
The remote also has a built-in microphone, allowing users to search for their favourite artist, album or track by speaking its name into the remote.

As well as a straight-forward catalogue of music, Electric Jukebox also features exclusive "mixtapes" from artists such as Robbie Williams, Sheryl Crow and Alesha Dixon, and actor Stephen Fry. They can also create their own playlists.

Rob Lewis, founder and chief executive of the Electric Jukebox Company, said that Electric Jukebox is intended to bring the sociability back into music, allowing families to sit around the living room listening to tracks and albums together.

"The complexity of digital is rapidly depriving people of the right to enjoy music at home. We believe in simplicity. Technology should just disappear into the background. It should be about relaxing, enjoying or even having a party," said Mr Lewis.

It is also intended to convince more people to migrate to music streaming from more traditional forms of audio playback.

The launch of Electric Jukebox in London today was attended by a selection of music industry heavyweights, including Paul McGuinness, previously manager of U2, Rob Dickins, founder of The Brits, and Alain Levy, previously global president and CEO of EMI Music - suggesting wide recording industry endorsement.

the UK Daily Telegraph claims that, a lot of questions remain unanswered, like what the Electric Jukebox catalogue will include, and how the company is able to offer the service for half the price of rival streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music - which allow users to stream music on the go as well as at home.

The Beatles' back catalogue is notoriously not available on any music streaming services, for example, and Taylor Swift has had several high-profile disputes with streaming services over royalties paid to artists. Her catalogue is currently available on Apple Music but not on Spotify.

Mr Lewis said the company would make a separate announcement on licensing, retailers and additional curators in "an additional period of time". However, he promised that the catalogue would be "comprehensive".

"From a high level perspective this is a premium service, so you have a premium catalogue. We have arrangements with the major recording rights owners, and also the publishers. The person who wrote the song then has an arrangement with the label or the publisher," he said.

"The reason why we hear about not enough money going to the artists is as much about the fact that streaming hasn't reached the critical mass and scale as it is the underlying arrangements. You're never going to have a sustainable business if there's 8bn people on the planet but only 40m of them are actually doing this stuff."

Electric Jukebox is available for preorder from today online.  It will go head-to-head with Google's ?30 Chromecast Audio, which plugs into any speaker and allows users to stream music directly from their mobile device.