The giant cell phone retailer Carphone Warehouse has launched a cloud-based music service to rival Spotify, Rhapsody and Napster. Subscribers will be charged €36 per year to access the service, undercutting the €12 per month subscription charged by Spotify.
The new Music Anywhere service allows users to synchronise their personal music collection with a cloud database of millions of music tracks sourced from the major record labels including Universal Music, Sony Music, EMI and Warner Music.
The service, which uses technology from Catch Media's Play Anywhere system, matches music tracks held within a user's Window Media Player or iTunes library with its catalogue of over six million tracks to create a duplicate song library 'in the cloud'.
Carphone said that the new service would initially support various smartphones including BlackBerrys, iPhones and Android devices, and would automatically cache the subscribers' most played 500 songs on the handset enabling them to be listened to offline and without incurring additional data charges.
According to Harry Malone, CEO of Catch Media, the new Carphone service had the potential to transform the industry. "It provides a new source of revenue and will help to reduce piracy. It is so easy, simple and cheap that it is an encouragement for pirates not to bother stealing," he said.
Of note, Malone added that the service could be expanded in the near future to allow users to access all their films, music and ebooks.
Meanwhile, Apple is said to have scaled back expectations about its cloud-based music streaming service. The company purchased the music streaming service Lala last December and closed it in May--rumoured due to preparation for its own cloud-based music service. However, Apple has informed record companies that the service will now launch later than expected.
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