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Telstra and MOG launch streaming service


Another "music streamer" has entered the Australian market, pushing the compact disc (CD) closer to oblivion.

Hot on the heels of Sweden-based Spotify, United States-based MOG and Australia's Telstra have teamed together to provide a music streaming service.

They join Rdio and JB Hi-Fi's "Now" as Australia plays catch-up to the United States and the United Kingdom in the move away from CDs and mp3 players.

Music streaming is where consumers gain access to a vast array of music for a subscription fee.

They "rent" a wide range of music rather than buy individual songs, and gain access via the digital "cloud" rather than through something physical such as a CD.

A consumer types into their digital device - a smart phone, tablet, computer or wireless hi-fi system - the title of any song they want to listen to and the song is sent to the device by the provider.

The song is played instantly and doesn't require the listener to search through any files to find it.

Music streaming providers say the service gives consumers access to millions of songs at less than the cost of CDs or downloads from internet sites.

Wireless HiFi system maker Sonos produces "smart" speakers specifically for listening to streamed music at home and says it is experiencing 100 per cent year-on-year growth.

The managing director of Sonos in Australia, Niv Novak, said on Thursday that music streaming enabled access to "all the content on earth".

"The largest music store in Australia has about 15,000 CDs and these (music streaming) catalogues have 16 million-plus songs," Mr Novak said.

"If you think of something back from your childhood, some Italian movie in 1948, or whatever - it's all available.

"If you walk out of a cinema and you want to hear the movie soundtrack, you have it."

Mr Novak said music streaming had been around in the US for seven years, but in Australia there had been a "tidal wave" of major companies launching their music streaming in the last 60 days.

Mr Novak said music retailers such as JB Hi-Fi could see that the acquisition of music was again evolving, after vinyl records, cassette tapes, CDs and mp3 players.

Financial services provider PricewaterhouseCoopers forecasts that digital music services are expected to grow about 15 per cent to become a $290 million business within three years, eclipsing CD sales, which are declining by 18.5 per cent.

"I think CDs will be the last physical format of music. I think all music will be acquired digitally via networks in the future," Mr Novak said.

Telstra research has found that 50 per cent of Australians haven't bought a CD from a record store in the last year because of the cost and constantly changing musical taste.

Telstra director of digital media and content, Adam Good, said the telco's customers wanted a wide range of music and at a good price.

He said MOG would be accessible to anyone in Australia, not just Telstra customers.

For Telstra customers, the streaming service would be unmetered, which means that once the music subscription is paid, the number of songs that can be listened to is not dependent upon the consumer's data plan.

"If you are a Telstra customer, you can sit there and stream all 16 million songs, although that will take you 90 years," Mr Good said.