Analysis

The Overflow tests mid-priced streaming for Christian music


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overflowIf you’d asked us to predict which musical genre would be first to get a dedicated, mid-priced streaming subscription service, we’d likely have tipped classical, country or metal. The Overflow, which launched this week in the US, has taken a different path: Christian music.

Built using 7digital’s platform, the service will cost $4.99 a month for access to a catalogue of more than 370,000 Christian and gospel tracks. Available first as an iOS app with Android to follow, it’ll mix on-demand access – offline play included – with curated playlists. “Christian music is an underserved and significant segment in the USA,” said The Overflow’s CEO Stephen Relph in a statement.

Hopes are high from labels in this field: “Over half of the Christian/Gospel consumer base is active in the streaming space. And, historically, about 20 percent of the U.S. Christian/Gospel consumer base listens exclusively Christian/Gospel, and does not actively engage with other genres,” Greg Bays of Capital Christian Distribution told Billboard.

In 2015, we expect to see more subscription plays like this, focused on specific genres and themes. $4.99 is likely to emerge as a common price too, although these services will have to be about more than simply narrower catalogues: the need for curation and other discovery features will be as great as for their generalist rivals.

Stuart Dredge

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