JB HiFi’s Now streams tracks from the cloud to multiple devices. Whereas Apple’s iTunes requires users to download tracks and transfer them from one device to the other, JB’s offering simply asks that you make one account, where logging in shares your music library from one device to the next.
Although a cloud streaming service, the clever system is capable of background WiFi caching for music playback when you don’t have access to an internet connection.
Currently the service stocks 6 million tracks (and counting) which can be replayed on Windows and Mac computers. The product range will expand in early 2012 to include Apple and Android tablets; Apple, Android, Windows and Blackberry smartphones and other devices sold by JB HiFi, such as high end receivers.
It makes use of Rovi’s music system which has helped the company cultivate an information ecosystem. Rovi currently stocks over 3 million albums and 28 million songs, each with artist biographies, album and track information.The result of Rovi’s and JB’s culminating efforts is one music platform that elegantly satisfies your audio and information needs.
“With over 100,000 artists and millions of songs for you to discover, play and share, listening to the music you love has never been easier.” -JB HiFi
With its abundant music resources, it was imperative for JB HiFi to create a layout which is easy to navigate and feeds only relevant information to users. To do so, the company has used orthogonal tiles to help present information. Unlike Apple’s iTunes, which relies on rigid text and variations of dull grey, JB HiFi use bright colours and striking graphics to visually entice users to the music they’re interested in. It looks radically different to other services on offer and effectively articulates the myriad of information it hosts.
At any one point, five main tabs are visible in the top right hand corner. These include ‘What’s Hot,’ ‘My Music’, ‘Mixes’, ‘Crowd’ and the ever present home button. Tapping on one of them diverts you to coloured screens that are characterised by a sound organisational flow.
The media player is featured at the base of the page and isn’t interrupted when navigating the service. It promptly plays tracks in high enough quality to amp up the volume.
2011 has seen multiple music services pop up without bringing something new and exciting to the table. Instead, they’ve been rehashed versions of iTunes, albeit on a smaller scale. JB’s Now is discernibly different in two key areas.
The first is through its mix tapes. Although their function resembles that of a playlist, the beauty of a mix tape is that it ties songs thematically and appeals to the mood you’re in. It also doesn’t hurt that someone else went to the effort of finding those songs. JB has taken that sentiment and given it a virtual makeover. They’ve compiled playlists that appeal to your mood, with examples titled ‘Mr Happy’, ‘Lighthearted’ and ‘Sexy Boy’, sparing you time and serenading you accordingly.
The second tweak appeals to social trends and falls under their ‘Crowd’ feature. This feature canvasses people you know and shares some of the tracks their listening with you. Seeing as most friends share similar tastes in music, this is a great additive that intelligently compiles tracks you’re likely to be interested in.
“This is a superior product to a lot of other music services that are out there’ said Scott Browning, the Marketing Director at JB HiFi. ‘We are confident that it will appeal to Australians who want access to great music on multiple devices.”
JB is offering a one month free trial with 3, 6 and 12 month subscriptions offered thereafter, costing $25, $50 and $80 respectively. It is a value for money service that is refreshingly different, and although it lacks the sheer variety of music Apple may offer, it is way ahead in the style, function and connectivity departments.