When Samsung introduced its first Internet radio service Milk Music in March, one of the things that stood out was that it was available free and without ads. That may change soon, according to information disclosed by Samsung today.
Nestled away in an infographic about Milk Music is a pricing plan which suggests that the free version of the service will “soon” include advertising. Those wanting to avoid corporate messages interrupting their listening will be able to pay $3.99 per month for a premium service that Samsung hints is also on its way, complete with as-yet-unknown “exclusive features”.
Milk Music is only available to US-based Samsung customers, so it could well be that the monetization plan is Samsung’s first step to talking the service global, and perhaps even to other devices.
Samsung is going to retain the ad-free offer for new users, it seems, and instead introduce ads after a certain point of using Milk Music. That approach makes sense given the intense competition in the mobile music space and the fact that Milk Music is (at this point) a companion app for Samsung devices. But the change may see Samsung lose out on users who appreciate an ad-free experience without cost, even though $3.99 per month is cheaper than Pandora and other rivals.
Samsung’s planned pricing falls in line with that of Slacker, the music service that Samsung partnered with to launch Milk Music. Slacker offers a $3.99 monthly subscription — which allows unlimited skipping, no ads, offline playback and some exclusive stations — while a $9.99 top-tier allows songs/albums on demand, custom playlists and more.
Samsung may well borrow from the Slacker playbook when it comes to adding those “exclusive features” for paying users.
We’ve contacted Samsung to ask when these pricing models will roll out to users, and whether they (and the service itself) will launch outside of the US soon. We’ll let you know what the company has to say in response.
Update: Samsung has since taken down its infographic blog post and a spokesperson provided TNW with a decidedly non-committal statement on Milk Music pricing:
We’re continuously looking at ways we can enhance Milk Music with new features to deliver the best radio-listening experience for our consumers. We don’t have additional information to share right now, but stay tuned.
Headline image via Christopher Elwell / Shutterstock