Best Buy beats Apple’s iTunes to UK music streaming services

While we wait for Apple to offer iTunes music streaming, here’s news for UK readers: Best Buy UK, the UK arm of US electronics powerhouse Best Buy, to introduce My Music Anywhere throughout UK Best Buy stores as well as Carphone Warehouse shops.

Coming as we wait on the EMI/ verdict, this is a cloud-based digital music locker service. Better yet, it works with iPhones and iPads and all Android tablets. Two services are being introduced. Free and Pro.

The ‘My Music Anywhere’ service, developed in partnership with Catch Media, works by fingerprinting the user’s personal music library, which is then made available to the user in the cloud and allows users to seamlessly stream those tracks to their desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

The ‘My Music Anywhere’ app is free for users to register and download from the Apple App Store, Android Market or the BlackBerry App World.

Lite is a free level of the service, enabling full access to a user’s music collection on any computer.  Plus with the new smartphone app, access to 16,000 internet radio stations, a selection of free songs and 30 second samples of the user’s music collection on a smartphone or tablet.  As part of the service, users can also organise their playlists, rate their favourite songs and view album artwork for every track.

Pro offers all the benefits of Lite but most importantly adds fully-streamed tracks and uninterrupted offline play on smartphones and tablets.

Tom Guy, Group Head of Digital Services, at Best Buy Europe said: “We realise how important it is for our customers to access their music collection whenever and wherever they choose, so we’re excited to be able to offer this improved service to both The Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy customers in the UK. My Music Anywhere’ is a ‘must-have’ for music fans as it lets you listen to your collection at home or on the go, through any computer, tablet and by downloading the mobile app, giving you access to thousands of tracks and radio stations whenever you want.

Harry Maloney, Chief Executive of Catch Media UK commented “Having a major retailer such as Best Buy Europe join as a partner, adding radio stations and extending the service to iPads and tablets are all exciting steps forward. The new features will make My Music Anywhere even more compelling for music fans who now have an array of options for signing up – in-store, online, app stores, QR codes and by text.

The Pro version is available for £3.99 per month – with no tie-in period after the first month – or £29.99 annually and is available at The Carphone Warehouse’s and Best Buy’s UK stores as well as online at and

Q&A below:

What Is My Music Anywhere?
My Music Anywhere gives you all the music you love, wherever you are. It’s a revolutionary new service that allows Best Buy UK and The Carphone Warehouse customers to access their music collection from anywhere in the world via their mobile handset, tablet or computer.
Built using Catch Media’s Play Anywhere™ technology, My Music Anywhere is the first fully licensed service of its type. My Music Anywhere isn’t about new music, it’s about allowing the end user to make the most of the music they already own.

What Makes This Service Unique?
My Music Anywhere is the first licensed service rolled out by major retailers. It provides music fans the ability to listen to their music collection and playlists through their Android, BlackBerry and Apple iPhone smartphone as well as Android and Apple iPad tablets seamlessly and wirelessly synced, just like their e-mail.

So How Does It Work?
When you first install the My Music Anywhere application on your computer it accesses your music library, but rather than copy the files to your handset it builds a database from your music’s metadata and stores it in the cloud, so it knows what music you should be able to access and will also have a record of all your existing playlists.

When you access your music from a remote location, you are in fact streaming music from Catch Media’s servers. A major benefit of this is that because we don’t copy the actual file, just the metadata, it doesn’t matter what format your music is stored as, whether MP3, WMA, or AAC, it will still be streamable through My Music Anywhere.

Will It Recognise All My Music?
Play Anywhere™ is comprehensively licensed, with deals in place with all four major record labels, independent aggregators and all relevant publishing agencies such as PRS in the UK, and BMI, HFA and ASCAP in the USA. These licenses cover over 6,000,000 different tracks.

I’ve Got Some Pretty Obscure Music…
If there are any media files in your library that are not recognised, that recording of Aunty Gladys singing ‘Stairway To Heaven’ at Uncle Monty’s funeral for instance, we copy that file to a digital locker so it will still be available.

What Happens When I Add New Music To My Collection?
Once My Music Anywhere has been setup it will continue to sync with your music library, so as and when you add new music or create new playlists, they will be available through My Music Anywhere.

Is There A Limit To How Many Songs I Can Access Through My Music Anywhere?

I Have 10,000 Songs In My Music Library How Long Will It Take To Set Up?
If your song is already in our cloud collection of songs it will only take a few seconds to sync that song with an average internet connection.  If the song is not in our collection that song is actually uploaded to your own personal My Music Anywhere locker, which will take a longer time and the speed will depend on the size of the song and your internet connection speed.
Will I Be Able To Access My Music When I Am Offline?
Whilst you will need to be online to access your complete music library, as you use My Music Anywhere it will begin to ‘smartcache’  500 of your most played tracks on your handset. This means caching is done intelligently, according to your own playlists and listening habits. These 500 tracks will then be available at any time, whether on or offline.

Can I Access My Music When I’m Abroad?
Depending on your data plan, yes, as long as you can get online you will be able to access your entire music collection even when abroad.

Who Is The Target Audience?
Smartphone and tablet owners who have a collection of music and playlists on their PC who want to listen to their music collection on the go.

Who Are The Biggest Competitors?
There are a number of music lockers on the market, none of which are licensed by the music industry, and there are also a number of cloud based services that are available at a much higher price point.

Why Not Just Use Spotify?
While Spotify is a great way of discovering as well as playing your own music, the £9.99 monthly premium service is not yet available across the world and is more expensive than MMA.
There are also still gaps to Spotify’s library, such as bands that are available on a la carte purchasing services like Amazon, iTunes or Napster. Therefore many prefer this option and the ability to listen to their entire collection over paying a premium for a music rental service like Spotify.

So Will My Music Anywhere Work On All Smart Phones and Tablets?
Catch Media’s Play Anywhere™ technology is compatible with over 500 different mobile handsets and all tablets.  This means My Music Anywhere subscribers will be able to access their music through all iPad, iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices.

What Effect Will My Music Anywhere Have On My Mobile Data Plan?
The application on the mobile phone will store your favourite songs so that as you listen to them they will not use up your data plan after listening the first time.

Am I Limited In The Number Of Handsets That I Can Access My Music From?
With My Music Anywhere you can stream your music to one mobile handset and to any computers that have the My Music Anywhere application installed, however you can only login via one PC at any one time, this is designed to stop file sharing.

Do The Labels Or Artists Get Paid When I Play Their Songs Through My Music Anywhere?
Yes, as we said Play Anywhere™ and hence My Music Anywhere are fully licensed.
Subscription revenues are split with rights holders, pro-rated according to the amount a track has been played, on a monthly basis.  Accounting is completely transparent, with no black boxes, and no right holders owning equity stakes in Catch Media.
My Music Anywhere also provides a unique service to labels in that we can provide real time statistics on where and how often their music is being accessed.

How was the first version of the service received by CPW customers last Summer?
Very positively.  The great news is that this 2.0 version has a whole host of new and improved features and now both The Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy’s customers can take advantage of this unique service.

What are the new features in this updated version?
A striking new design, built in access to 16,000 global radio stations, album artwork and a selection of free tracks available.  It’s also available as a free ‘Lite’ version and for Android and Apple tablet users too.

How do I get the app on my device?
The ‘My Music Anywhere’ app is free for users to register and download from the Apple App Store, Android Market or the BlackBerry App World.  To download the right app consumers can also scan a QR code using compatible smartphones and The Carphone Warehouse customers can send a free text ‘music’ to 80091 with Best Buy customers able to send a free text ‘mma’ to 80091.  In each case a link will be sent leading to the app store compatible with the phone.

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