Samsung Electronics, the Korean giant known for making TVs and cellphones, has launched a digital music streaming service in the U.S. that would compete with the likes of well established rivals Spotify and Rhapsody.
While the service, dubbed Music Hub, will initially only be available on the Samsung S III smartphone, the company is expected to make it available on its other Internet connected devices, such as its smart TVs and, perhaps even its connected refrigerators.
After a 30-day free trial, Samsung will charge $9.99 a month for the offering, which includes on-demand access to a catalog of 15 million songs, a cloud service that lets listeners call up digital songs they already own on the device and customized streaming radio akin to Pandora.
For now, Music Hub is limited to cellphones in the U.S. and Europe, where Samsung already launched the service in May.
The U.S., however, is the world’s largest market for music, and the Korean company vacillated over how to price its service in order to compete with some formidable rivals.
Rhapsody, for example, has more than 1 million paying subscribers in the U.S. Muve Music, available on Cricket Communications’ cellphones, has well over half a million paying listeners.
On Tuesday, Spotify said it had 15 million active users worldwide, 4 million of whom pay a monthly fee for the premium service. Spotify does not break out its subscriber numbers in the U.S.