UK firm appeals to digital music refuseniks with Jukebox service

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 14, 2015 10:36 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - A British start-up has launched a music streaming service dubbed the Electric Jukebox that, for an annual fee, plugs into the back of a television for music fans who do not want to fiddle with app-based monthly subscription services.

Offering millions of songs and curated music channels, the service is designed to enable listeners to discover a wide range of music without the need for a laptop or smartphone, potentially appealing to older consumers.

Ever since illegal downloads destroyed the traditional model of selling music via CDs, the music industry has been trying to find new ways to sell songs, either via streaming services such as Spotify, single sale downloads via the likes of Apple <AAPl.O>, or ad-funded video sites like YouTube <GOOGL.O>

The services have also been included as part of mobile phone contracts in a bid to promote take-up.

"We want to bring music back into people's living rooms," said Rob Lewis, CEO of Electric Jukebox Company.

"Rather than huddling around a laptop or smartphone to play music, or being forced to rely on old CDs and radio, we've created a music device that is simple and easy to use and which works straight out of the box."

The new service, which will consist of a plug that goes into the back of a TV and a controller to operate the service, is being backed by many industry heavyweights including the former heads of Warner Music, EMI Music and the former manager of U2.

Rock stars Sheryl Crow and Robbie Williams, and actor, writer and comedian Stephen Fry will be some of the people sharing their favorite music on the service, the company said.

The device, which includes a year's worth of music, will be available in Britain for 179 pounds and in the United States for $299, it said, discounted to 149 pounds and $199 for the first seven days after launch.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Mark Heinrich)