Turn on, plug in, drop out: music streamer Electric Jukebox reveals Spotify killer

Imagine if music streaming was as easy as playing a CD. No monthly subscription. No faffing with user accounts, smartphone apps and multiple devices. Just plug and play. This is the dream Electric Jukebox wants to make a reality, and one that will have the tech-averse leaping in collective joy.

Turn on, plug in, drop out: music streamer Electric Jukebox reveals Spotify killer

The brainchild of Rob Lewis – founder and CEO of B2B music service provider Omnifone – Electric Jukebox is about as simple as streaming devices get. A Wi-Fi-enabled HDMI dongle plugs into the back of your TV, the Nintendo Wii-style remote controls the interface with a wave of the arm, and a microphone embedded in the remote allows you to search for your favourite albums and artists via voice commands. If it sounds simple, it’s because it is.

Keeping things simple

It’s an interesting alternative to the monthly subscription model currently touted by the likes of Spotify. Like Google’s Chromecast, it promises a bundled set of features for the initial cost of the device. Instead of a user account and monthly subscription, the Electric Jukebox costs £179 and comes with 12 months of ad-free music streaming. After that point, an annual subscription to the service costs £60. Not that you’re necessarily forced to spend more – Rob Lewis explained that some of the on-demand functionality would be “greyed out” once a subscription lapses, and that full-screen advertising would be displayed.electric-jukebox-remote-on-table-and-tv

Of course, this is a very different service to Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal. Indeed, there isn’t any support for mobile or web-based streaming to other devices – the key benefit here is simplicity; there are no accounts or passwords.

Instead, the licensing side of things is tied to your particular remote control. Take your remote round to a friend’s house and all your playlists and “liked” content comes with you. Combine this with curated and celebrity-endorsed playlists from the likes of Robbie Williams, Sheryl Crow and Alesha Dixon – not to mention that well-known music impresario, Stephen Fry – and the Electric Jukebox is hoping it can deliver that magic formula which resonates with the masses. 

Comprehensive catalogue

If none of this sounds revolutionary, it’s because it really isn’t, but it’s an interesting twist on the music-streaming phenomenon, and one that’s designed to appeal to the millions who still haven’t abandoned CDs and radio.

The burning question, however, is whether the music catalogue will be up to scratch. Robbie Williams and Stephen Fry are all well and good, but the dongle will ultimately live and die by the scope and depth of artists available. Rob Lewis, CEO of Electric Jukebox, wasn’t able to confirm numbers – apparently the company’s partners and catalogue details will be unveiled in a future announcement – but he was confident that it’d be the equal of its rivals.


“We will have a comprehensive catalogue,” he said. “Electric Jukebox will have the kind of catalogue that you’d expect from a premium monthly subscription service. All of the key players in the independent sector are also on board and are incredibly supportive.”

The Electric Jukebox is available to pre-order at www.electricjukebox.com now. Pre-order it before 12 October, and it’ll set you back £149 – after that, it will retail at £179. We should be getting our review sample in a few weeks, and we’ll report back once we’ve had time to give it a proper listen.

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