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Electric Jukebox: The celeb-backed Spotify alternative out to invade your home

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The product, a music-rich TV plug-in dongle that comes complete with voice-controlled remote, is from the mind of seasoned entrepreneur Rob Lewis.

His previous ventures include digital streaming services Omnifone and Rara – the former a B2B channel that launched in 2003 and the latter a consumer-facing follow-up that debuted in 2011.

Once connected to the WiFi, in what’s estimated to take just two minutes, the device will allow users to have access to a rich catalogue of songs experienced on the likes of Spotify, Apple Music et al, although the company is reluctant to disclose the specific numbers at present.

Lewis is eager to eliminate the dreaded recurring monthly fees charged by other streaming services, thus the device retails for £179 in the UK and $229 in the US, while it comes with a 12-month premium pass included in the purchase.

Once that free one-year pass runs out, users can continue streaming via a limited version that comes with ads, or alternatively pay £60/$60 to secure another 12-month premium pass – which Lewis was keen to highlight is half the cost of Spotify, which costs £120 for the year.

To kickstart sales, the firm is also offering devices for £149 in the UK and $199 in the US when they’re pre-ordered before 21 October.

Harnessing his music industry contacts, Lewis has secured Alesha Dixon, Stephen Fry, Robbie Williams and Sheryl Crow as curators on the service, all of whom will pick and upload playlists of their favourite music to help guide consumers.

In the company’s words, “Electric Jukebox represents the first Internet of Things music appliance for the home, making on-demand music streaming accessible to everyone.”

Read more on the music streaming industry:

“We want to bring music back into people’s living rooms. Rather than huddling around a laptop or smartphone to play music, or being forced to rely on old CDs and radio, we’ve created a music device that is simple and easy to use and which works straight out of the box,” said Lewis.

He highlighted research from YouGov, which found that radio is still the most popular way to listen to music at home with 52 per cent of consumers, followed by 42 per cent who opt for CDs. 

Elsewhere, 92 per cent of consumers are still yet to subscribe to any music streaming services.

Lewis continued: “There used to be 200 million people buying CDs every month and many more buying CDs occasionally. After ten years of streaming only 40m have converted to streaming subscription services because of complexity, set-up difficulty and because of the fear of recurring credit card based subscriptions.

“The Electric Jukebox is the product for the other 160m music lovers out there who want to join the revolution but have been waiting for something fun, stylish and easy to use.”

In addition to celebrity power, Electric Jukebox is also supercharged with a board and advisors that include The Brits founder Rob Dickens and ex U2 manager Paul McGuinness, as well as executives from Visa, EMI, Island Records, Universal Music, TomTom, Super Group, Deloitte and more.

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