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Music Stream Battle Looms As Telstra, JB Hi Fi, Sony & Spotify Slug It Out

Music Stream Battle Looms As Telstra, JB Hi Fi, Sony & Spotify Slug It Out

Despite not having a launch date Larissa Ivacheff the general manager of Entertainment for Telstra BigPond, was out yesterday spinning the Telstra music offering claiming that the MOG service is coming “within weeks”

Telstra, who have not had a lot of success in the past flogging music, is facing tough competition from the likes of JB Hi Fi with their popular Music Now service, Spotify and RDIO.

Several music device Companies including Sonos, Yamaha, Harman Kardon and Pioneer are looking to embed the JB Hi Fi Music Now service into their devices. Also looking to include the JB HI Fi service on their devices is TV manufacturers Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Toshiba. The service is also set to appear on several tablets and Ultrabooks which are sold in JB Hi Fi stores.

Telstra said that the MOG service will be bundled into mobile and broadband plans for Telstra customers, but they won’t be charged for data when they download or stream songs. They said that they will not provide the service to other device manufacturers.

Telstra is hoping that by removing data charges for its customers, they will gain a competitive edge over Spotify, Rdio, and iTunes.

“We’re really excited about MOG. We’ve talked to various music streaming services around the world, and MOG just felt like the best fit for Telstra,” Ms Ivacheff told the Australian newspaper who have become a PR front for Telstra announcements.

“Telstra customers won’t pay for downloading while on the move, which we think is a big advantage. And we’ve made a big effort to secure local Australian musicians and artists.”

It is also tipped that Sony will launch their Music Unlimited cloud streaming service later this week for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch. The platform had previously only been available through Sony’s connected devices like the PS3, PS Vita and Bravia TVs, as well as on selected Android smartphones and tablets.

Meanwhile music streaming service Spotify is looking to lure a good number of Australia’s music pirates – as well as fee-paying iTunes addicts to its free music streaming service, launched in Australia yesterday. Spotify offers up to 16 million tracks delivered to personal computers without charge.

The service is paid for by advertising with the Commonwealth Bank, McDonald’s, Virgin Mobile and Carlton United Breweries signed up as exclusive advertisers during the first three months of the service.

An ad-free service is also available, for a monthly fee of $6.99. And if you want to play your Spotify playlists on a mobile phone or tablet as well as your PC, you’ll need to ante up for the “premium” service at $11.99 a month.

Spotify, a company started in Sweden but with its HQ in the UK, claims to have around 10 million active users globally. A fair proportion of the freebies are believed to be former users of pirate-music operations like Pirate Bay.

“In any market where we launch we tend to find our biggest competition is piracy. They are the people we want on board our platform because we have a free tier,” Spotify A/NZ MD Kate Vale said yesterday.

It might take pirates, but Spotify won’t let just anyone sign on. Only registered Facebook subscribers can join – Spotify helpfully provides a link to sign up to Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking outfit before it takes you on. The idea appears to be to promote music sharing with Facebook friends

The 16 million tracks aren’t all rock, hip-hop and pop. Classical, jazz, blues, country and other tastes are certainly catered for: there’s even a pre-prepared playlist of 50-odd works by Australian composers from Percy Grainger to Brett Dean.

Technologically, Spotify says it is desktop- rather than Web-based. It is described as a hybrid model, streaming music centrally from large servers as well as incorporating peer-to-peer technology, which is said to allow music to be played instantly.