Samsung Challenges Apple’s iTunes Radio With ‘Milk Music’


Samsung (SSNLF.PK) unveiled a new Internet radio streaming service called Milk Music on Friday that will compete with other online music streaming services, including Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iTunes Radio, Pandora (NYSE:P), Beats Music, and Spotify. Per Samsung’s press release, Milk Music is a “free and ad-free radio service that offers an effortless and entertaining way to enjoy the music you love and discover new, unexpected music.”

Milk Music is available exclusively on Samsung’s devices via a free Android app from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play. Although the service is currently available for free with no ads, the Milk Music app download page noted that this was a limited time offer. Apple’s iTunes Radio is offered ad-free if you are a subscriber to the company’s cloud-based iTunes Match service. Per Samsung, the radio streaming service can be used on the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note 3, and Galaxy Note II, regardless of carrier. Milk Music will also be available on the upcoming Galaxy S5 in April.

According to Samsung, Milk Music is powered by interactive Internet radio service Slacker and features over 200 genre-based stations and a catalog of 13 million songs. The customizable service allows users to tailor the interface to display their personal music preferences via the “My Stations” feature. Samsung also noted that the service will soon be offering “unique music programming from top selling and emerging artists available exclusively through Milk Music.”

“Milk Music introduces a fresh approach to music that reflects our innovation leadership and our focus on creating best-in-class consumer experiences,” stated Samsung Telecommunications America and Samsung Electronics North America Headquarters president and CEO Gregory Lee. “We’re offering consumers amazing, rich music experiences built around what matters most to them and their lifestyle.”

Samsung’s Milk Music also includes a “Spotlight” feature that offers “a continuous curated selection of songs and albums hand-picked by music tastemakers and influencers.” In this sense, Samsung’s service is similar to Beats Music, which also emphasizes human-curated playlists.

On the other hand, Milk Music also uses an automated recommendation method through its “Fine-Tune Station” feature that allows users to adjust each genre-based station according to “popularity, novelty, and song favorites.” The “Fine-Tune Station” feature is similar to how Apple’s iTunes Radio allows customers to make adjustments to their automated music stream by marking songs as “Play More Like This” or “Never Play This Song.”

Internet music streaming services have become increasingly popular over the last several years. According to Billboard, many industry executives believe that the recent declines in digital music sales may be due to the growing popularity of subscription and ad-supported music streaming services. However, for companies that have invested in both markets, the growth of music streaming may counter the recent declines seen in digital download sales. Apple launched its iTunes Radio music streaming service as part of the iOS 7 operating system update that was released in September of 2013. It remains to be seen if Samsung’s Milk Music will be able to lure users away from some of the more established music streaming services.

Follow Nathanael on Twitter (@ArnoldEtan_WSCS)

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