Samsung brings classic radio touch to new music service – USA TODAY
Samsung is fine-tuning its approach to music on the go.
A new free streaming radio service called Milk Music (the app arrives today in the Google Play store), is now pouring out 200 ad-free stations to Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones and Note devices.
Milk will get its coming-out party beginning Friday at the South By Southwest Festival where attendees can test-drive the app at the Samsung Experience in downtown Austin.
Milk has more than 13 million songs on the stations, each of which is curated by a DJ or music expert in that genre. Samsung partnered with digital music service Slacker for its content, and has access to the entire library of music from artists including the Beatles, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin.
Unique to Milk is a circular tuning dial, similar to classic analog radio dials. “It is instant. It is literally like the old terrestrial FM dial,” says Daren Tsui of Samsung Media Solutions. “You turn it and hear it (a new station or song). We think that is going to allow you to discover music in a more organic, natural way. I’m using my ears to discover rather than a bunch of metadata.”
As you glide your finger around the circular dial, songs from different genres can be heard. Find a channel with a genre you like and run your finger around the inside of the dial for different channels within a genre. Tactile feedback lets you know you’re moving from one channel to another.
Samsung’s design team made Milk’s interface and functionality easy to use in an effort to woo those who currently don’t listen to mobile music offerings. For instance, you don’t even have to sign in to start listening to the app.
Many customers find current music services too hard to understand and they don’t like ads, Samsung Mobile’s Ryan Bidan says. “There’s this group of consumers who hadn’t engaged yet in mobile music for a number of reasons and there was another group of consumers who were somewhat dissatisfied with that experience,” he says.
Stations can be created for songs or artists. Then as songs play you can customize your experience by tagging songs as favorites or ones you don’t want to hear again.
As each station’s linear broadcast plays, listeners can skip six tracks on each station that they listen to within an hour. Then your skipping quotient restarts. And you can customize the tuning dial to remove genres you don’t like or swap genres for stations. Genres include Rock, Hip-Hop, Pop, Country, Alt-Indie, R&B, Jazz and others.
Also on the dial: Spotlight, where you will get exclusive music and content about artists.
Milk is a standalone music app that is separate from the for-fee Samsung Music service currently available on Galaxy and Note devices. It is available now for free on the Galaxy S III and S4, the Galaxy Note II and Note 3, as well as Galaxy Mega and Galaxy S4 Mini. The service will also be available on the S5 when it launches April 11.
Users must be on a Wi-Fi or cellular network to listen; there’s no offline listening or for-fee service at launch.
Spotify currently owns one-third of the $5 billion streaming music market that’s expected to grow to more than $46 billion by 2018, according to ABI Research.
But Samsung hopes to capture some of those paying customers — and some newcomers — with Milk. “It’s about this intuitive entertaining way to discover music, find new things that you haven’t heard before but also rediscover those old favorites you have forgotten you loved,” Bidan says.
And that could, in turn, solidify brand attachment to Samsung, says analyst Ben Bajarin of tech research firm Creative Strategies. Milk “is quite impressive. They have differentiated this service from the others,” he says. “It’s a value add (to current and potential buyers) and could help someone justify picking up a Samsung phone.”