New music streaming service Songl was officially launched in Sydney today after months of beta-testing, with chief executive Mark Shaw labelling it the “premium product in the market”.
Songl has been created specifically for the Australian market by Digital Music Distribution (DMD), the joint venture between Southern Cross Austereo, Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music.
The platform offers both a paid for premium service for $12.99 per month and an ad funded light version of the service, Songl Free, that won’t “bombard you with ads between the songs”.
“Rather it’s a simpler linear play out of music,” a statement said.
A 30-day free trial period of the premium service is also on offer.
Southern Cross Austereo radio stations are featured in the service with users able to stream shows as they go to air.
Songl also hopes to differentiate itself from other services with a video player and “exclusive content” including playlists created by artists, stars and music experts.
The video player is available in both the free and premium service and will feature interviews and behind the scenes videos.
“We’re incredibly excited about the potential of music streaming and confident that Songl is the premium product in the market,” Mark Shaw, the chief executive of DMD, said.
“It’s designed for Australians, is simple and intuitive to use, enables users to share their music and dramatically enhances the consumer listening experience.
"We are not just a standard streaming service in that we are very focused on our content beyond just music tracks. We’ve gone aout and built a video player and we've got a real focus on creation of content by experts. Creation of content by artists and stars which is a huge part of what we do. We are working really closely with them," Shaw told B&T.
Songl can be accessed on desktop and via apps on iPad, iPhone and Android devices and automatically syncs across all devices.
Users can sync up to 1000 songs to their devices, allowing them offline access.
The service also has inbuilt Facebook integration allowing users to share their playlists with music catalogue featuring songs from the 1940’s to today’s chart toppers.
When Shaw spoke to B&T in October last year following SCA’s backing of DMD he said it was “kind of a big deal” Songl was headquartered locally.
“Being based here means we have got a huge amount of flexibility to be able to create what we want and we understand the needs of Australian clients,” he added.
“If you look at most other streaming services their head offices are overseas and they probably don’t have the flexibility to change and adapt to the Australian market like we do.”
Infusing the product with a strong local flavour was critical, as was making it a "mass market" product, said Shaw.
"We wanted to create a product that was really in tune with our Australian audience. It's got a strong bent towards supporting Australian artists and it's really easy to use. It's not just for the techies, its for people anywhere and everywhere," he said.
Australian Radio Network is still to launch its localised version of American service iHeartRadio after it announced its plans in early October 2012.
Songl is most closely linked to Spotify in terms of offered product and services. ARN's I Heart Radio product will not be a direct competitor, said Shaw.
"It's not really comparing apples to apples. I Heart Radio is a radio focused platform whereas we are a music streaming, music on demand, radio, video the whole thing service," he told B&T.
The music streaming market is still an an embryonic stage. According to Shaw, " the actual revenue coming out of streaming they actually represent less than 1% of all music revenues". But things are set to heat up in the next 12 months.
DMG Radio Australia partnered with Rdio in August and a string of music streaming services have recently entered the market including Pandora, Spotify and Deezer.
For more on the radio networks and music streaming see B&T’s ‘News Analysis: On air and On Target’.