September 1, 2006 3:00 AM PDT

Samsung plans own music service

Aiming to better compete with Apple Computer's iTunes, Samsung on Friday announced that it will develop its own music service in conjunction with a new series of portable players that will debut later this year.

Samsung is tapping New York-based MusicNet to power the service, which will offer both download sales and subscription options. The service will initially be available in the United Kingdom, France and Germany, but Samsung says it hopes to expand throughout Europe and Asia.

The move follows Microsoft's announcement in July that it will launch its Zune player and service, competing directly with former partners, including Samsung, Creative Labs, iRiver and others. Until announcing the Zune, Microsoft had focused on getting others to build devices and music services that used the company's Windows Media Audio format. The various devices and music services were marketed under Microsoft's PlaysForSure brand, an effort that has been thrown into question now that Microsoft is developing the Zune.

Samsung said the service will work with a number of its new media players, including the striking new K5 player, which sports a built-in speaker system.

"Our partnership with MusicNet completes our product package," Seungsoo Park, vice president of Samsung's digital audio-video unit, said in a statement. Park said the company selected MusicNet because of its experience in creating other such services. MusicNet provides access to major-label music for a number of services, including Yahoo, MTV Networks' Urge and MusicGremlin, according to a MusicNet representative.

Samsung's decision also follows Nokia's announcement earlier this month that it would buy digital-music distributor Loudeye.

After spending years trying to compete against Apple's iTunes and iPod combination through a variety of devices and music services that could interoperate, many of Apple's rivals are now trying to build integrated devices and services.

Gartner analyst Michael McGuire said Microsoft has provided little clarity for its PlaysForSure partners as to how much support they will see going forward or how Zune will work with their players and services. As a result, he said he expects to see others follow Samsung's lead.

"Hardware makers make their money leveraging their manufacturing capacity," he said. "It's not good to let a lot of those things run idle. I think you can expect a lot of them to be doing similar types of things until there is more clarity."

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5 comments

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plays for sure is defacto
MusicNet is powered by Windows Media...so the PlaysForSure "branding" is not needed.
Posted by df561 (94 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Fails for sure
Plays for sure is NOT defacto - iTunes is.
Posted by Europodboy (298 comments )
Link Flag
Same old Same Old
Sony, Samsung, Toshiba - they just don't get it. The player is
only part of the puzzle, but they've spent the last 4 or 5 years
entirely focused on hardware. I could get a Chinese factory to
crank out a new player with new features in a New York minute.

So then they (MS and Samsung) come up with a NEW music
service. Way too late folks. And then what really astounds is that
they pre-announce it for some fall or winter introduction. Just
line it up and release the service. What are they expecting some
extra bump in sales to come out of pent up demand?! Whatever,
folks will just keep buying from iTunes until their ready.
However, by the time they are finally live with the service,
everyone will be too lazy to switch.

It's hilarious watching these big behemoth companies scrap it
out over what's left in marketshare after Apple's 75%. Me too! Me
too! I'm trying to think of a word to describe this mentality of
wanting a piece of every pie. How much is Samsung, Dell,
Gateway, Toshiba, Sandisk going to waste on product
development and marketing before they realize that they ought
to just focus on their core competencies (of course I didn't
include Sony because they should have OWNED the iPod!)?
Posted by geotopia (48 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Same old same old
Sony, Samsung, Toshiba - they just don't get it. The player is
only part of the puzzle, but they've spent the last 4 or 5 years
entirely focused on hardware. I could get a Chinese factory to
crank out a new player with new features in a New York minute.

So then they (MS and Samsung) come up with a NEW music
service. Way too late folks. And then what really astounds is that
they pre-announce it for some fall or winter introduction. Just
line it up and release the service. What are they expecting some
extra bump in sales to come out of pent up demand?! Whatever,
folks will just keep buying from iTunes until their ready.
However, by the time they are finally live with the service,
everyone will be too lazy to switch.

It's hilarious watching these big behemoth companies scrap it
out over what's left in marketshare after Apple's 75%. Me too! Me
too! I'm trying to think of a word to describe this mentality of
wanting a piece of every pie. How much is Samsung, Dell,
Gateway, Toshiba, Sandisk going to waste on product
development and marketing before they realize that they ought
to just focus on their core competencies (of course I didn't
include Sony because they should have OWNED the iPod!)?
Posted by geotopia (48 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Maybe this is a trial balloon
The guilty parties still have time to back out of what will be a waste of time and money.

Heck, assuming that Zune doesn't turn out to be:

1) As late to market as Vista, and/or

2) A bigger joke than the Dell DJ

Samsung and Co. will have to compete with it.
Posted by J.G. (837 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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