Earlier in the week, eircom launched music hub, their answer to music piracy approved by the IRMA (record labels). You can stream music for free, if you’re an eircom customer. Or, you can buy & download music. €5.99 for 15 tracks or €12.99 for 40 tracks. Users of all other ISPs get shafted…
Can it work?
No. Eircom need to focus on getting broadband right before they can start offering streaming services. For starters it’s been built in flash, which the cool kids like Apple and Google are trying to kill. I love the non high resolution images too, very classy if you want to give a home made, cheap, tacky impression 😉
We then have the fact this can only run in a browser. I don’t know about you, but i listen to music whilst i’m doing other stuff… i want desktop apps or browser plugins or something that allows me to ‘remote control’. Eircom Music Hub doesn’t have that so the novelty will wear off very quickly. Nobody wants to keep a tab or a window open in the background, running permanently. Get real.
On the same day Eircom launched this, Sky confirmed it was shutting down their service because they “didn’t see the consumer demand we’d hoped for”. It was up and running for just over a year. Virgin had planned to launch their version in the UK last year but had the cop on to realise it wouldn’t work and instead are supposedly partnering with spotify.
What makes eircom different?
I don’t think anything makes them different, which is why i think Music Hub will be a big mistake. They are Ireland’s largest ISP but they’ve nailed their colours to the mast in terms of music and piracy. This service is no doubt seen as a niche by eircom… they play the middle guy between consumers who are demanding free music and the IRMA who are demanding profit. They think this will work.
Whilst the free streaming part might have novelty value at the start, i can’t see eircom profiting from Music Hub. They’re not itunes. They’re not spotify. They’re not music people. They’re getting involved in something they have no experience in but something that their consumers have a lot of experience in. Can Music Hub compete with Groveshark and the inevitable introduction of the likes of Pandora and Spotify in to Ireland? Not a chance.
Cracks are already appearing
I’ve said already the site has been built in flash, which is a mistake in 2010. What’s even more worrying is that despite launching it a few days ago, Music Hub is nowhere to be seen in Google for the words ‘Music Hub’ or ‘Eircom Music Hub’. Shocking stuff. In fact, the site isn’t even indexed in Google as of today as far as i can see.
A massive PR campaign and fancy launch yet if people try to search for anything related to ‘eircom music hub’, they’ll have to ‘work’ to find the official site. This is why eircom need to focus on what they specialise in rather than waste time & money on something that nobody but eircom believes will work.