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Carphone Warehouse Enters Music Streaming Market


Carphone Warehouse Enters Music Streaming Market

The Carphone Warehouse has today launched an online music streaming service to compete with the likes of Spotify.

However, it operates in a very different way. The service called, Music Anywhere, works by installing an application to your computer that scans your entire music collection, and then matches it to the Music Anywhere database. It will then stream it to back to your desktop, laptop, or smartphone over the internet from the Music Anywhere servers, enabling you to access your own music from wherever you are.

The My Hub application is free and is already available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry platforms.

The service cost £29.99 for an annual fee, which makes it a good value proposition against Spotify, which costs £9.99 a month for the Premium service and won’t work in every country around the world.

Tom Guy, group head of digital services, at The Carphone Warehouse said: “We all have a cherished music collection that brings together our favourite mix of songs. The new Music Anywhere service lets you listen to this wherever you are, through any computer or by downloading the mobile App. In just a few minutes you can have thousands of tracks available from home, at work, on the train or in the car!”

Carphone Warehouse has confirmed that the service will recognise and stream all music, even if it has been pirated, but states in a FAQ that, “In extreme cases where it becomes apparent that most of a person’s music collection has been fact pirated, Music Anywhere reserves the right to terminate the service.”

However, all major labels are on board, as even if some tracks are pirated, they will receive royalties for those tracks being played back by the user.

Tracks that can’t be matched to the Music Anywhere database will be stored in a ‘Digital Locker’ and can be accessed that way.

The Carphone Warehouse said that over 6 million tracks have been licensed, so unless it’s original content, there’s a good chance it will be recognised.

While the service will eat into your data plan, smart caching means that up to 500 songs will be stored on your device, so that after the first playback they won’t have to be streamed again.

Of course if your music is stored at high bit-rate, it’s likely to be lower quality when streamed via Music Anywhere, but conversely, if you have low bit-rate files, they might well be streamed at higher quality.

Are you tempted by the Music Anywhere service? Do you think it’s a better option than Spotify or Napster? Let us know in the comments.

Link: Carphone Warehouse My hub


August 3, 2010, 8:45 pm

This seems a pretty poor deal. It might be a quater of the price of Spotify but you only get access to music you've already paid for. Smart cashing is a bit useless as well. If you already own digital copies of the songs you can load them on to your phone anyway. In reality it just seems a way to boost the amount of music your phone can store at the expense of your data plan.

By comparison Grooveshark is $3 a month at the minute music streaming over your phone. Admittedly the catalogue is a little rough round the edges, and you have jailbreak if you want to use it with an iPhone but at least you can access stuff you haven't already payed for once.

Andrew Fordham

August 3, 2010, 8:56 pm

Given that you can listen to pretty much anything on Spotify, whether you have it in your current collection or not, I don't see this as being a direct competitor. I'm only a Spotify premium subscriber so that I can stream to my Squeezeboxes; all my own music is ripped lossless and served via Squeezebox server.


August 3, 2010, 8:57 pm

Im positive that this is basically the same model that Apple is planning on adopting later this year.

It's actually a fairly good proposition but unfortunately the times that I generally listen to music tend to be on the train/traveling which often has 3G drop out patches that is a pain in the neck. Spotify's offline playlists get round that as does have the tunes on your phone (obviously!) so this is a service that I dont see myself using but one that could be very interesting to someone with a huge library and lives in an area with a strong 3G network.

Tony Walker

August 4, 2010, 1:01 am

£29 quid a year so I can listen to the music I have already paid for! At an inferior quality (can't see them using 320kbits/sec)! And then it will store 500 of my songs on my device for me at the same lower bitrate! Genius!

If anyone in Newcastle wants some coal, give me a shout!!


August 4, 2010, 1:06 am

Wasn't mp3.com doing essentially the same thing ten years ago?


August 4, 2010, 2:30 am

£29.99 a year to listen to music I already got?!? Damn! Why didn't I think of that! Why not got the whole hog and charge me to watch DVD's I already own? Or maybe charge me view the photos I took myself?


August 4, 2010, 4:00 am

I like the sound of it. Really good if you have a huge music collection (mine is up near the 90GB mark) and can't get the whole thing on your phone/MP3 player, you'd still be able to sync tracks on to it when away from the house. Not seen the app yet though so I'll reserve judgement for the interface.

I did use Spotify, but it's too geared towards playlists. I'm more of an Albums/Artists kinda guy and as such slowly stopped using "Offline Mode". I've just cancelled completely, can't justify a tenner a month for streaming alone.


August 4, 2010, 4:13 am

Utterly pointless. Sounds like a completely frustrating way to waste your data plan.


August 4, 2010, 5:43 am

So what one has to do is just alter the tags of the mp3s to get the desired track? Sounds.. err what was it?


August 4, 2010, 12:55 pm

Im surprised only Stu has really picked up on the potential of this here. I'm also glad Im not the only one with that particular issue with Spotify - playlists are great but Im more of an album guy myself too.

I sit with 160gb or so of music - probably more in fact. Being able to access that when out and about is certainly a good thing and £30 a year for a service that allows me to do that isn't too shabby. Depends on the app and its integration/features I suppose as there are currently iPhone apps at about £5 that will do something similar with streaming from your home pc.

@rdsh - I assume you find Spotify a completely frustrating way to waste your data plan?!

At the end of the day, if you are into your music and like taking it with you then this is a good buy. If you arent all that fussed over music then services like this and Spotify will never really tick your boxes.


August 4, 2010, 1:49 pm


Last time I looked @ Spotify you could indeed be the "album guy".


August 4, 2010, 2:14 pm

Nobody else seems to have pointed out that the music streaming service is just a small part of the My Hub service, which is mostly about backing up your phone data (contacts etc.) and computer data (photos, documents etc.) into the cloud.

Since if you use the service you might be backing up all your music in the cloud anyway, why not also let you stream it?

Seems like the Music Anywhere is just trying to make the My Hub service more compelling, rather than being a Spotify competitor in its own right.

Also, poor name for a web service, domainwise. The Carphone Warehouse My Hub site is my-hub.co.uk, but myhub.co.uk is something else entirely.


August 4, 2010, 2:30 pm

A way of taking your music everywhere you go - genius! I have long wished there was a way of carrying a huge music collection (say up to 160Gb) in my pocket. If I had invented such a thing, I would give it a catchy name like "iPod Classic". But as far as I know, no such thing exists... ok someone help, I can't turn off the sarcasm...

Here is a service that would be rendered utterly redundant by an MP3 player (or even by supplementing your phone memory with a high-capacity micro-SD) - but with the added benefit that it won't work when you go through a tunnel. I'm sure for some it sounds wonderful. I only wish I could afford to throw money away like that.


August 4, 2010, 3:53 pm

@Hank - True, you can, but it isn't exactly intuitive. Spotify is fundamentally built towards playlist building. My playlist list is currently dozens of albums long which is a pain in the arse to browse through on both the mobile and desktop service. Of course, if you are only interested in listening to an album at a time or so or are keen enough to update your playlist list on a daily basis then it isnt an issue but I like to have as many albums as pos with me so I can listen to whatever my mood decides is applicable!

@MrGodfrey - your argument would've been a little better if it didn't come across as a bit hypocritical. Your solution to an annual fee of £30 streaming service is to splash out 4 or 5 times that as a one off cost for an MP3 player which could get lost, has limited connectivity and capacity, could break down, etc. I only wish I could throw away money like that...


August 4, 2010, 4:04 pm

@MrGodfrey: I only wish I could afford to throw money away like that.

Well I assume 160gig of music would require a fair bit of money. Unless of course you got the music none legit. This is what I really like about Spotify, it's like having thousands Gigs of music at your fingertips without doing it illegally, and all the Tags & Album art are perfect etc.

If only they were a Spotify for Movies/TV shows.. :)


August 4, 2010, 9:26 pm

Jones: I don't actually think it's that hypocritical. Even if a dedicated device costs 6 times that of the monthly service (as a Classic would), you would then have to stop using said service after half a year for it to represent better value. A PMP should last a lot longer than that. More to the point, how are you going to access your streaming service? I would imagine that you'd need a smartphone, tablet or other device with internet access, which would of course cost at least as much as the PMP. If you already have such a thing, it could still get lost, break down, etc. etc...

In all seriousness though, in everyday use which is more likely to occur and disrupt your listening pleasure: Your PMP suddenly breaking down, or a loss of 3G coverage?

Keith: You are correct, however I am not arguing against Spotify (which I rather like). I am questioning the value of the Carphone Warehouse streaming service described in this article, for which you also need to "own" the music.


August 5, 2010, 1:45 am

You're making fair points but we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. It's the same as arguing with those who dont like streaming services, they'll never really "get" the service on offer.

Anyway, as I said before, if rumours are to be believed it is exactly this sort of service that Apple plans to push big time as opposed to a Spotify type set up. If that's the case then there must be some market ripe for exploiting.


August 5, 2010, 9:39 pm

Jones: Fair enough. And I should correct my basic error of misreading it as a £30 per month service as opposed to £30 per year. I do however "get" streaming - but my main issue with streaming, like cloud computing, is that it relies on a consistent speed and reliability of service (in mobile broadband and Wi-Fi) that simply does not exist yet for the majority of users. If this country didn't appear to be receding into the dark ages in terms of telecommunications, I'd probably be more optimistic.

As for the last point: I agree. If there isn't a market already then I have no doubt there will be once Apple slap their name and a few meaningless but catchy buzzwords all over it ;)

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