Songl streaming service to close just 18 months after launch

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Songl is no more.

After just 18 months of life in the already crowded Australian streaming music circuit, the basic subscription service from Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) and partners Sony Music and Universal Music, has closed its doors to new customers.

In a statement SCA have stated that they “have jointly been committed to (Songl) for the past two years. However, all stakeholders have moved their focus from this service into other music and content-based commitments that will enable each stakeholder to diversify their offering. Songl will ensure the transition from the platform for its trialists and subscribers will be seamless.”

Existing subscribers will be moved to Omny, a personalised radio-service that mixes podcast-content with your own music, though it’s unclear how this transition will work. At the present time Omny don’t supply music, but rather sources it via an existing Spotify, Rdio, or Songl subscription. Maybe this will change in the future, or perhaps SCA doesn’t understand what a seamless transition is.

Songl had a rough beginning, relaunching in 2013 just months after its initial, and quiet launch. The service changed drastically following increased competition, with shareholders convinced that it was perfect “for the Australian market,” boasting their inclusion of “a video player” and “a real focus on creation of content by experts.” As you might guess, this didn’t mean much when international competitors, such as Spotify, had created a more mature, more focused subscription service with better apps, more music, and a more social experience. Songl, by comparison, had similarities to Rdio, living in the browser, though came with a more traditional interface and rudimentary mobile apps, often glazed by an endless stream of poor reviews.

Prior to its launch as Songl a similar service, titled Anubis.fm, was a pioneer in Australian streaming music, though suffered from a lack of mobile apps, and a Flash-only web interface. At the time it was an exciting glimpse into the future of Australian music, though the group behind the service failed to capitalise on the idea. In my opinion Songl was a step backwards, both in design and in functionality.

The group behind Songl will soon be rebranded as Songl Solutions, with a new focus on music streaming solutions, as well as live music events for brands. The group will also continue to supply music to Foxtel and Satellite Music Australia, a service it describes as “core” to its business. Though don’t expect so see the Songl brand in any consumer-friendly environment anytime soon.