The online music business is tough for everyone involved, MP3 stores, streaming services, online radio and so on. There's money to be made, but the expenses are so large that hardly anyone is making a profit. Yet, it seems that there's a never-ending stream of companies wanting a piece of it.The biggest trend as of late has been big companies moving in and offering music services, like the music clouds offered by Apple, Amazon and Google.
Another trend, that seems to be picking up steam, is that of hardware makers adding music services as a bonus to their devices.
This isn't new, Nokia tried it a few years ago as did others. It didn't work out great for Nokia, but that's not stopping it from trying again, it has just unveiled the Nokia Music+ service, restricted to Lumia-owners, which will offer
Update: As one commenter pointed out, Music+ offers unlimited skipping, but not a true on-demand option like Spotify and others do.
Nokia already enables Lumia users to listen to music via its Mix Radio app, which works more like Pandora. But Music+ will be more comparable to Spotify & co.
Samsung already has something similar with its US-only Music Hub service, which offers on-demand music to Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II owners.
Users can also store their music in the cloud, like they can with Google Music or Amazon's Cloud Player.
Now, it seems that Samsung plans to expand the availability of the Music Hub not only to its other devices but even to devices built by its competitors.
Music Hub is very similar to most of the other music streaming services out there, including Google's and Amazon's, but also the more traditional Spotify and all the rest.
Already, the online music market is incredibly crowded and, again, not very lucrative. It makes some sense for hardware makers to try to differentiate themselves.
But it's hard to imagine enough users flocking to these services for the investment to make sense, Spotify spends most of the money it makes on licensing and it's the largest player in on-demand music streaming.
Samsung may have a shot since it's selling tens of millions of devices, even if a few of the buyers convert to the Music Hub, which is free for a month to new owners, it could mean a solid user base. But it's hard to imagine Samsung being the one that cracks the online music nut.