Electric Jukebox: A Musical Dildo for Family-Loving Luddites – The London Economic

Electric Jukebox: A Musical Dildo for Family-Loving Luddites

By Grant Bailey (@GrantDBailey)

This morning I popped along to an Electric Jukebox press event in glittering Soho. In the chill morning air the streets felt particularly clear and spotless. A man selling the Big Issue waved a cheery hello as I gawped at a load of big trees. I think they were part of Ai Weiwei’s new exhibition.

Admittedly, having failed to do my research (though there was an air of secrecy to the whole event) I went into the BAFTA 195 knowing only that there would be snacks, special guests and the unveiling of ‘a revolutionary, celebrity-backed music streaming service’.

On the subject of music streaming, and skipping to the end of the conference before we even begin in a single, unintuitive leap, I am a staunch Spotify user. I’ve been using Spotify since I tilled my first eggplant field in the Farmville boom. Leaving the building at the end of the conference and opening up the Spotify app on my phone produced a feeling in me not unlike receiving a hug from a friend whose affection may not be entirely plutonic.

My long and blissful relationship with another streaming service has surely painted my views of Electric Jukebox, but I’ll let you unpick the good stuff from the unruly splurge below.

And you should probably watch this quick video beforehand, if only for the enthusiastic Taylor Swift fan.

The Event

BAFTA 195 is swanky. You can see your caffeine-addled face in most surfaces.

As expected, the pastries are top drawer. By the time the conference starts I’ve had two croissants, a pain au chocolat and too much coffee. Gorging is more important than networking.

Alexander Armstrong of Pointless fame is here to MC. Richard Osman is not, which is disappointing.

The room smells like my ex girlfriend, giving the conference undertones of tragic romance. I wonder if YouGov, who are Electric Jukebox’s go-to research agency, conducted a poll on most popular ex-scents and piped it into the room to misdirect dormant feelings of lust at the product.

An endorsement from Stephen Fry is gold. His short VO is charming, but unless his curated playlist is peppered with murky Leeds hardcore and Mogwai it’s unlikely I’ll ever check it out.

Sheryl Crow’s video feels contrived by comparison but is saved by a cheeky Robbie Williams and his silly silly slippers.

The product demo goes well, though one of their key messages, that an older audience will find the device intuitive to use (they admit that the 18-25 market is well-catered for when it comes to music streaming services) is undermined by bringing an amoeba on-stage to demonstrate the Electric Jukebox’s basic functions.

It is later revealed that the amoeba does not know who Lynyrd Skynyrd are.

 

The Product

The ease of installation is the Electric Jukebox’s USP. Navigation is controlled via remote and a dongle which connects to your wifi and plugs straight into the HDMI at the back of your telly (assuming you have a fancy telly) (Electric Jukebox assumes we all have fancy tellys and soundbars or other sound systems attached to these tellys so we don’t have to use the rubbish in-built speakers).

Electric Jukebox

The form factor will fit right into the usual collection of livingroom remotes. It’s modelled on and has functions similar to a Wii-mote, with a whiff of Ann Summers pleasure device.

Your subscription is tied to the device, which means you can easily take your musical pleasure remote to a friend’s house or abroad.

They have partnered with Getty images, bringing you the soothing curvature of Tuscan aqueducts and the rolling hills of Hobbiton while you unwind to your Cannibal Corpse playlist. It’s not a screensaver, it’s a very big deal.

The emphasis that this is not a monthly subscription service feels futile. Keeping track of a direct debit payment is made to sound like such an impossible task that it is surely leading forgetful idiots into auto-paid bankruptcy. Plus Electric Jukebox is still a subscription service, albeit yearly, making the whole discussion pointless (Alexander Armstrong’s ears prick up).

On the plus side the first year’s subscription is free (read: included in the cost of the initial purchase). After that it’s £60 a year making it cheaper than other streaming services. The Electric Jukebox is designed for the home listening niche though so you won’t be able to use the device on the go.

The idea of friends and families gathering around the device to listen to music together is a cornerstone of the concept. I spend all of about one day in the livingroom with my family and that’s Christmas day when Eastenders is on so I’m not a great judge. ‘The Death of The Livingroom’ sounds like a credible thing, but I’m sure the research proves otherwise.

Streaming services live and die by their libraries. Electric Jukebox are yet to announce a comprehensive list of their licensing agreements but this is to come before Christmas. Further features are also yet to be announced meaning that social and sharing functionality between other Electric Jukebox owners may still be on the way.

Round Up

It was with the first mentions of “the difficulty of subscribing to music services” and “the hassle of going to the corner of the room to change a track”, that it became clear that the Electric Jukebox wasn’t targeted at me. There is an audience of music lovers who want an easy, inclusive music experience for the whole family on their television. There are even people who want Alesha Dixon to curate a playlist for them.

If you’re one of these people I’d love to hear from you in the comments.