Samsung’s Kleek is no Spotify

Samsung and Universal Music Group are bringing a streaming music service called “the Kleek” to African smartphone users. But it’s very limited in scope, at least for now. By Duncan McLeod.

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Universal Music Group and Samsung Electronics, together with African and international music labels and publishers, have launched a pan-African mobile music streaming service called “the Kleek”.

The Kleek, designed specifically for African audiences, will be shipped on future Android-based Samsung smartphones exclusively for a period of two years, the companies said at a launch event in Cape Town. Existing Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy Pocket and Galaxy Music living in South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and Angola Kenya can download the app from Google’s Play Store.

Samsung users will receive 12 months of free streaming. It’s not immediately clear how much they’ll have to pay to access the service after this period has expired.

The app will be available to non-Samsung device users, too, but only at an unspecified future date.

Samsung and Universal promise the app will offer a wide range of content, including artist, genre and celebrity playlists as well as album previews and artist diaries and charts. However, only a “few hundreds tracks” will be available at launch, a tiny fraction offered by streaming music players such as Simfy and Spotify, which boast catalogues running to tens of millions of tracks.

The Kleek app is being “soft-launched” in South Africa this week, with a fuller and broader launch to follow in the “next few weeks”, according to a Universal spokesman.

“With the explosion of smartphones and other mobile devices, the Kleek has the potential to attract tens of millions of music fans across Africa,” says Universal Music Group International CEO Max Hole in a statement.

Sylvian Mahy, head of digital at Universal Music, says his company’s partnership with Samsung extends to smartphones only, not to feature phones. He says Universal has plans to offer the service in some markets on feature phones, whereby users can dial an interactive voice response system to listen in.  “Such services are pretty popular across Africa,” says Mahy.

He adds that Samsung and Universal are in talks with mobile operators about providing discounted or zero-rated data so that consumers can don’t incur high data charges while listening to the service.  — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media

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