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News March 8, 2016

CUR Media to launch with US$1.99 monthly price tag

CUR Media to launch with US$1.99 monthly price tag

US company CUR Media is targeting young music fans with the launch of its streaming service in the coming months. It comes complete with the enticingly low price tag of just $1.99 per month.

As streaming services vie for paying subscribers their core target demographic of 18-25 are certainly proving to be the most difficult. Teens and students, who generally have little to no disposable income, will still opt for a free version over a premium despite the ads.

Intersecting Spotify and Pandora, CUR Media’s so-called “Octo” plan uses a mix of Internet radio, expertly curated stations and the option to create your own playlists. The service allows you to create your own profile with a social media edge where the user can share their music with a photo or video attached.

CUR Media Chief Executive, Tom Brophy, said the service’s low price-tag alone was the centrepiece of his pitch when he started licensing negotiations with record companies several years ago.

Since 2014, Brophy has obtained licensing deals from all three major record companies – which included US$8 million dollars in advances – and the issuing of each company with a 5% stake in CUR Media. Though even with the support of the major labels, the company still needs to raise more money to launch the service

Streaming services and record companies have not always seen eye to eye and speculation follows the ease of agreement between the company and the label sector. Some record company executives agreed that the concept of the app was the next generation of music services and believed that the low price tag will attract young users; others say that the record companies could simply not turn down the advance money.

TMN questions how the company is able to charge such a low price for the service, when Apple Music were recently forced to meet their competitors’ prices at $9.99 rather than charge their initial $4.99 price tag. Perhaps it is because of the nature of the service and the business model being more compatible with the record labels and innovative for the users; however

Digital veteran Bill Campbell who has recently just joining CUR Media’s Board of Directors said in a statement, “CUR’s hybrid model of passive radio listening and on-demand, lean-forward listening, along with integrated rich social features, will provide consumers with a great music experience at a very competitive price”.

CUR Media is not the first company to offer subscription radio at a low price: Rhaspsody has been offering subscription radio for the last three years at $4.99/month, which includes custom radio and 25 song downloads a month. Other streaming services such as Slacker Radio offers an ad-free radio with the option to skip unlimited songs and set up radio stations offline for just $3.99/month.

On a recent earnings call, Pandora’s Chief Executive Brian McAndrews commented, “Over the years, we’ve seen more than 30 imitators and so-called Pandora killers. And yet Pandora has thrived where others have not, becoming the mobile service with the highest engagement across the consumer Internet.”

Pandora, far from irrelevant, is aiming to launch its own on-demand service later this year for a price that is yet to be revealed. But judging by the competition is likely to be anywhere between $1.99 and $4.99. Pandora’s $4.99 tier, Pandora One, offers ad-free listening and the ability to skip more songs.

CUR Media have revealed that their $1.99 “Octo” tier will be their forerunner; however, they will also offer a $4.99/month and $9.99/month services. The “Octo” theme was strategically chosen by Brophy as a way of maintaining the attention of its audience as researches show that humans can only consume between 6 and 11 things at one time before becoming overwhelmed and eight was “right in the sweet spot”.


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