Eircom music service claims to undercut iTunes by 75pc

8 Dec 2010

Eircom has launched its new MusicHub in collaboration with the record industry, making 4 million tracks available to stream or download at prices it claims are up to 75pc cheaper than iTunes.

The new Eircom MusicHub offers free and unlimited streaming to all existing Eircom broadband customers.

Users can listen to every track in the catalogue – adding up to 25 terabytes of data – without restriction or advertising. The service also includes social features, such as tagging.

Streaming at 128kbps AAC+, the new service has a rich ‘My Music’ feature that allows users to build up a library of favourite artists, music and custom playlists to be shared with friends.

At 32 cents per download, Eircom says the MusicHub is 75pc cheaper than iTunes.

The service follows individual contractual deals with each of the major record labels, including Universal Music UK, Sony, EMI and Warner Music, as well as Merlin, the global rights body representing thousands of independent labels.

Collectively, they represent all the major international and Irish artists. Media Service Provider (MSP), a specialist media technology company that provides the service platform, powers Eircom MusicHub.

The service also lets users download DRM free music to PCs and laptops, and lets them copy it to portable devices. Customers can keep all downloaded music, even if they leave the service.

For €5.99 a month, customers can download 15 tracks per month. Alternatively, users can download 40 tracks per month for €12.99, which is 32c per download. Non-Eircom customers can also access the service if they have a fixed-line broadband connection.

Eircom’s online content plans

“Eircom MusicHub is a major development for Eircom in the online content space,” Stephen Beynon, group managing director of consumer and small business, explained.

“We are the first and only internet provider in Ireland to offer online streaming as part of a music service. Customers will not find a greater selection of music across all genres anywhere else in Ireland from their broadband provider.

“It is the third significant market development this year from Eircom, following the introduction of next-generation broadband and the launch of eMobile,” Beynon said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years