Samsung has tried and failed several times to get a successful digital-music service off the ground, despite the popularity of its smartphones.
Now the world’s biggest manufacturer of Android devices is taking what is perhaps the most logical step: teaming up with Android’s creator Google in a music-streaming partnership.
“Starting today with the launch of the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+, Google Play Music will be the default music player and music service on new Samsung phones and tablets globally,” explained Google Play Music’s lead product manager Elias Roman in a blog post. “We’re also collaborating with Samsung to create special features in Google Play Music just for Samsung customers.”
That includes doubling the cloud-storage capacity for Samsung users of Google Play Music to 100k songs.
But from an industry perspective, the potential here is all about distribution for Google Play Music, with a three-month trial bundled with every new Samsung smartphone and tablet.
The news follows Samsung’s decision to close its Milk Music streaming service in August 2016, with rumours of a Tidal acquisition afterwards having ebbed away.
Samsung’s 2016 was mixed to say the least. It shipped 306.4m smartphones according to research firm Gartner, giving it a (leading) 20.5% market share. However, it was forced to recall its Galaxy Note 7 device after reports of exploding batteries.
Still, it’s the 306.4m figure that shows the potential for Google Play Music, a service which has never declared public numbers for its subscribers.
Samsung could be the platform for sharp growth of the service to finally start keeping pace with Spotify and Apple Music. But then if shipments alone were a guarantee of success, Samsung’s own music services would have performed better.