Preloading your app on smartphones isn’t a guarantee that people will use it, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction for a digital service trying to reach a mass-market audience.

Witness 7digital’s announcement on Friday that more than 100m smartphones will ship this year with its apps pre-installed, including Samsung’s new Galaxy S4 smartphone and rival handsets from BlackBerry and HTC.

Suffice to say, the S4 will account for a big chunk of those – analysts think it could ship more than 60m units by Christmas. 7digital’s technology is what’s running the new Samsung Music Hub app, which we wrote about on Friday.

Users will be able to browse and buy music from 7digital’s download catalogue, as well as streaming on-demand tracks and listening to personal radio stations.

7digital is using the S4 launch as a way to remind the technology and music industries alike of its streaming capabilities, claiming that the last year has seen a “tenfold increase” in the number of tracks streamed using its API, predicting hundreds of millions of streams by the end of 2013.

With all services notching up 3.7bn streams in the UK alone last year, 7digital is still emerging in this market, it’s fair to say.

7digital’s major role in Samsung’s music service may provoke questions about its acquisition of mSpot – the division still in charge of Music Hub. But it’s as much a reminder of the company’s increasingly prominent middleman role between the music and consumer electronics worlds.

7digital’s last financial results, for 2011, revealed just under £8m of revenues and a net loss of £113k, but when its 2012 figures are published later this year, we’d expect them to show considerable growth.

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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