Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.
It’s been a good few years since we last caught up with Digitally Imported, a platform for electronic music fans that we called a sleeping giant of online radio.
Available on the Web and through mobile apps, Digitally Imported streams north of 80 channels dedicated entirely to thumping beats, with the company tapping the collective wisdom of electronic music aficionados to curate its content.
Today, the Denver, Colorado-based company has announced plans for what it’s calling the “first electronic music platform to fully integrate radio, on-demand and e-commerce.” Here’s the lowdown.
Pandora + Spotify + iTunes + electronic beats
In effect, Digitally Imported is to become like a Pandora-meets-Spotify-meets-iTunes for everything from deep house and techno to trance and big beat. The company says that nine independent content distributors have signed licensing agreements to include “non-interactive, interactive and master rights to enable complete integration across the three key areas of online music consumption.”
By “non-interactive” streaming, Digitally Imported is referring to passive radio listening (similar to Pandora). And by “interactive” it refers to on-demand (similar to Spotify). By “master rights,” the company means full tracks and albums will be made available to download and purchase (similar to iTunes).
To date, content providers that have signed up include Believe Digital; dig dis!; digedo (a subsidiary of daredo); FUGA; Groove Attack and Rough Trade Distribution; Label Worx; Paradise Distribution; and Symphonic Distribution. More are expected to put pen to paper in the coming weeks.
The licensing deal is particularly notable, insofar as Digitally Imported has managed to get the aforementioned parties to make their music available through three separate commercial avenues.
Thus far, Digitally Imported has offered human-curated, Pandora-style streaming radio, with a premium subscription unlocking more channels and higher quality audio, while also removing ads. The company will begin rolling out refreshed Web and mobile apps with the following new features in 2015:
- Persistent audio with uninterrupted playback
- Advanced programming alerts and notifications for exclusive shows
- Customized channels and personalized music recommendations
- Exclusive access to DI Journeys, an original programming series hosted by DJs from around the world
- Skip, stop and search through tracks
- Search for tracks, shows, artists, labels or channels
- Integrated activity feed with listening history, on-demand playback options and ability to purchase favorite tracks
- On-demand access to previously aired shows and exclusive content
- Customized playlists with social sharing options
Digitally Imported’s team will determine which tracks are available through radio streaming, download or on-demand. The service well launch with around 300,000 tracks, a figure that should rise to roughly half-a-million by the end of 2015.
The platform will only be available in the US and the Netherlands initially, though more countries will be added when the market-specific licensing and royalty arrangements have been rubber stamped.
In terms of pricing, well, nothing will change as such on that front. Free users will still be able to access streaming radio supported by ads, and those in the US will be able to access the on-demand features as part of the free service. Alternatively, they can pay $7 per month or $70 per year to remove the ads. Downloads will be charged on a “per unit basis,” which hasn’t been set yet.
For those in the Netherlands, on-demand will be bundled as part of the premium subscription, though as its ad-revenue grows, the plan is to shift this service over to the free realm. No details have been provided on its plans for other potential launch markets yet.
While many existing subscription and download music services already offer a multitude of sub-genres that fall under the all-encompassing ‘Electronic Music’ umbrella, having a dedicated online emporium for this style of music, for all budgets and listening preferences, is a smart move.
Related read: Shazam boosts its dance music credentials, inking deal to access Juno’s arsenal of electronic music
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