Is the retro jukebox getting a face lift? Rob Lewis of Omnifone is hoping his new gadget is the one to achieve that success. The Electric Jukebox is a device that plugs into the back of a television via a dongle and streams millions of songs via its subscription service. It comes with a motion-sensitive remote with a built in voice-activated microphone. Music superstars like Sheryl Crow and Robbie Williams sweeten the deal with custom playlists.
Lewis says he was inspired by the Sonos system that streamed Spotify that he and his brother bought for their parents one Christmas. He wanted a system that would be easy to set up and easy to use.
The draw of the Electric Jukebox is its ease of use and that it gets people to stop listening to their music on their phones and computers and back into their living rooms through their television sets in, possibly, hopefully, a more social setting.
While the sound quality might be better on a television than a computer speaker, it’s not the same as popping a CD into the CD player and listening through an amplifier to stereo speakers; even if the streamed songs are CD-quality. Perhaps with access to millions of songs, the future of music will be heard on smaller speakers. Electric Jukebox might be assuming that their customer has an HDMI-ready television with a sound system already.
Who is the target audience for the Electric Jukebox? Lewis himself said this is for people who find streaming technology difficult. How difficult is Spotify anyway? Television sales are at an all time low; after all, millennials aren’t buying televisions. People want their music on the go these days; they don’t want to be tied down to a big plastic box in the living room.
Lewis told Rory Cellan-Jones of BBC News, “I set the team a challenge. Can we make something that comes in a box, affordable for most people, open the box, and two minutes later you’ve got a jukebox with all the world’s music.”
“Whilst some may be comfortable with Spotify and Apple Music and spending hours configuring these services on specialist streaming devices, the vast majority of consumers really want something that works instantly,” said Electric Jukebox CEO Rob Lewis in a statement. It is simple to use. There are three options on the home screen: My Music, Discovery and Search. Easy peasy.
Electric Jukebox is available for pre-order priced at £179 in the UK and $229 in the US, which includes a one year subscription to the streaming service. Subsequent years will be £60 or $60 per year or alternatively, customers will still be able to stream ad-supported music.
Time will tell if this takes off. What do you think… are you intrigued, or bored out of your mind already?
Photos: Electronic jukebox