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17th January by Elias Harrak
Sales of online purchases continue to rise and JB is missing out on the potential cash cow, and by going for the streaming service, its tapping a market that no one has extended a hand to in Australia.
The service JB provides is rather well thought out. The layout of the browser addition isn’t too cluttered, and doesn’t blind you with so much in-your-face colours like any catalogue you get in the mail. It provides millions of songs in its catalogue from over 100,000 artists and bands. As it allows you to create your own profile, it provides you the ability to create mixtapes, and share them amongst your friends, family and random users who also use the service. It helps you recommend songs to others without having to find the song on YouTube and link to their Facebook walls.
There is also a Discover tab which allows you to find new music based on genre and then sub genre, but it isn’t perfect. The Discover view is rather annoying to find what you want. It shows you each artist in small boxes of album art or promotional photos which aren’t labelled unless you mouse over it. Then it is basing the artists on who they have in their catalogue, not on which artists you currently listen to like iTunes’ Genius tool. The List view of the Discover tool is much easier to navigate. Another problem with Discover is some artists of bands are not for that particular genre for example, I selected Foals’ debut album Antidotes, and it recommended I listen to Calvin Harris and Justin Timberlake, or how about recommending Pink and Kesha when I’m listening to Angus and Julia Stone.
Currently there is no integration with Facebook or Twitter which I would love to see. Nor is there a separate client for PC’s, Macs and smart phones. These are currently in the works, so it will be just a matter of time before we can close the browser to stream music.
JB HiFi NOW has a free 30 day trial and costs $25 for 3 months, $50 for 6 months ($8.33 per month) and $80 for 12 months ($6.67).
Well first off Rdio boasts off a 12 million+ song catalogue with 4 of the major record labels backing it. It has native clients on PC and Mac, and even has apps for iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone devices. It has an active user base which constantly updates their playlists and recommends you songs.
Rdio even updated its catalogue to support Australian artists after it was released for Australia, I was able to find bands like The Jezabels, Josh Pyke, The Holidays, Last Dinosaurs and Ryan Meeking.
Rdio’s smartphone clients require and added payment on top of the subscription, but I don’t believe it is worth it unless music streaming is the way you take to getting your music hit. It requires a constant connection and if you’re in an area with bad reception it won’t do you any good.
The recommendation suggester in my opinion is broken. The Rdio client scanned my iTunes collection to see what my music taste would be, I then linked it with last.fm. The result wasn’t good. It didn’t recommend anything to me apart from what was most popular on Rdio. It should have seen how many plays from songs and bands I’d listened to like last.fm but it didn’t. In order to get recommendations I had to listen to songs on Rdio. I’ve listened to my collection over 23,000 times. I don’t want to go through that again to get some recommendations. It should work the first time, especially if I can connect with a service like last.fm.
Rdio is available now with a 7 day free trial, after that it’s a monthly fee of $8.90 for unlimited streaming on a browser and desktop clients, or $12.90 for unlimited streaming on a browser, desktop client and on smartphones.
As a CD hoarder, I’m not going to be making the switch to streaming music anytime soon. JB HiFi now has the potential to be great, and being in beta they will be constantly adding new features at a low subscription fee (the 12 month rate is very appealing). Rdio has everything that JB HiFi Now is aiming to be, but the inability to recommend anything with your iTunes or last.fm and price is its biggest stopping point. Then there is also the rumor of Spotify trying to come to Australia (which I honestly believe will be another 18 months away, but that’s for another time).