AUSTIN, Texas--Music service Mog unveiled its first mobile application in a press conference Monday as part of the South by Southwest Interactive Festival. Called Mog All Access for Mobile, it'll be coming out as a $10/month subscription for the iPhone and Android platforms this spring and will feature access to on-demand streams of 7 million songs, radio stations, and what founder and CEO David Hymon described as "unlimited downloads to the phone, as part of the subscription, in ways that really succeed what others have done."
Downloads through the Mog app are possible even through the iPhone app, something that is surprising given Apple's historically tight restrictions of music apps that could compete with its own iTunes service. Mog attempts to circumvent this by storing downloads in a "local cache" that can be listened to when out of cell phone or Wi-Fi range, much like the app of competitor Spotify, which Apple approved for the iTunes store to some skeptics' surprise. (Spotify is currently only available in Europe.)
When asked if Mog was concerned that Apple wouldn't approve its app, Hymon said, "It's a good question. We ask ourselves the same thing. To date they have not turned down any of the subscription apps...we'll have to wait and see."
In December, Mog--originally a music-centric social media hub--announced its $5/month on-demand Web-based music service, which Hymon described as "heralded by music fans and press as the best way to listen to music." He said that mobile was an obvious next step.
"For people who are used to free music options, they're feeling like the value we provide for five dollars a month is better than free," Hymon said. "When we built Mog, every day we said to ourselves for years, 'Music's already free. What could we give somebody for five dollars a month that just blows away free?'"
SXSWi, with its sister festival SXSW Music, is an ideal launch pad for a digital music service. But the Monday of SXSWi 2010 is a particularly interesting time for Mog's mobile announcement: on Tuesday, the day after the Mog press conference, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek will take the stage in one of SXSWi's keynote addresses. Spotify has not yet confirmed whether any product announcements will be part of the keynote.
Until the hyped debut of Spotify, many in the industry had written off streaming music services as unprofitable ventures that couldn't survive in a harsh climate of regulators, big-label pressure, and the iTunes juggernaut--radio service Pandora, which Mog is attempting to best with its radio feature, has been a rare success story.
The fate of companies like Spotify and Mog is still unclear: last year, Apple acquired streaming-music service Lala amid rumors that streaming music would soon become a big component of iTunes itself.