Samsung's Milk Music may become more than just a sweet deal for Galaxy phone users, as the company looks to monetize its streaming music service with ads and paid subscriptions.
Currently, the service is free, and has no advertisements, but an infographic on Samsung's Website says this is just a “special introductory offer.” According to the infographic, Samsung will split Milk Music into a “Basic” service with ads and a $3.99 per month “Premium” service with exclusive features and no ads.
If these changes take effect, it'll be unclear why anyone would use Milk Music, except out of ignorance. The app is only available on a handful of Samsung phones; there's no Web version, and no apps for iOS or other Android devices. For the subscription tier, you'd be much better off with a service that supported a broader range of devices.
As for the free service, it's basically a re-skinned version of Slacker, drawing upon the same catalog and offering similar fine-tuning options for your music stations. The interface is different, making use of a unique “radio dial” to select stations, but the actual music is the same. Again, there's not much incentive to use Samsung's service over those from Slacker or other providers, which offer much more universal platform support.
Potentially, Samsung could try to lure users with limited-time upgrades to the premium tier. Samsung already bundles “Galaxy Perks” with its phones and tablets, in the form of trial subscriptions and credits for various services, so Milk Music would be a logical way to extend the program.
But unless Samsung users are given additional benefits or unique features that other services don't have, there's no good reason for those users not to jump ship when the ads start coming. If Samsung really wants to make the jump from hardware to software and services, it'll need to put in a little more effort.