Play by ear

Pelephone's new streaming music service gives users unlimited access to a quarter of a million songs.

By MARGARET STONER
July 14, 2009 14:18
2 minute read.
Play by ear

musix 88 248. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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All-you-can-eat buffet? Been there, done that. All-you-can-hear music? That's something new. Recently, Pelephone launched a new unlimited streaming service in that vein for the music junkie. Users sign up and get the right to hear all the music they want, whenever they want, via their cell phones or computers. "All our research has shown that people will pay a limited amount for an unlimited experience," said Dovev Goldstein, manager of Pelephone's new music service, Musix. According to Goldstein, the public wants a legal way to transform its music collection into new media. Other similar services offer unlimited music, but usually with access restrictions - like they allow the user to listen to only 10 songs a day. "This is not a true unlimited experience," Goldstein says. Users of Musix can access their collection from any computer and from their cell phones whenever they like. Unlike with Apple's iPod, which must be plugged in and updated manually, the service automatically synchronizes music on the computer and cell phone. When music first became available on cell phones, users were only interested in the big hits. Goldstein says this has changed, and describes Musix as a "holistic music experience. I can have Pink Floyd's entire discography whenever I want it, not just Wish You Were Here." Musix's library currently boasts a quarter of a million songs and is growing. To give a concrete impression of how much music that really is, Goldstein describes the Musix library as containing "two years of continuous music without repeating. In terms of plastic CD cases, the library would be one and a half times the height of the Azrieli Towers." The interactive Web site (www.musix.co.il) allows users to build custom playlists that will automatically appear on their cell phones. The service claims to have "first dibs" on new music, and as a result of deals with production companies, sometimes even has an album before it is released in stores. Unlike other services that have been shut down or changed, such as Napster, Musix is "legal on all levels of production. The entire chain of creation - artists and composers - perceive this chain as a partnership," Goldstein says. "Any new song, we have the same day as the radio, and [we have any new album the same day] as the store does for album distribution - sometimes even before. For example, we already have Moby's new album, but it will only be available for the public to purchase in three weeks." To cater to Israel's more conservative crowd, Musix has a wide variety of religious and censored music. Children's music and stories are also available. The music is of high-quality, and streams on 192 kbps; on iTunes it streams on 120 kbps. In operation for just about two weeks, Musix already has hundreds of thousands of subscribers. The service costs NIS 19.90 per month and is open to all Pelephone users. The music library remains available for as long as subscribers stay on. "We believe it will revolutionize the music industry," Goldstein says.

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