Samsung acquires mSpot to expand cloud music efforts

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Samsung Electronics has acquired cloud services firm mSpot in a move to increase the breadth of music, video and radio content available across its devices. The companies did not disclose financial details of the deal, although The New York Times estimates a price tag of $8.8 million.

The mSpot platform includes branded streaming music and movie services optimized for a range of mobile devices and operating systems including Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android. The free mSpot app for Android enables users to upload their digital music library to a personal cloud locker to stream songs on the go or cache favorites for offline listening; the app also features lyrics, live album art wallpaper and an equalizer. MSpot offers the first 5GB (about 4000 songs) for free, with larger storage plans available for purchase. The company also generates revenues from premium rental fees tied to its mSpot Movies app. 

Samsung said it will integrate mSpot services directly into future smartphones and tablets. MSpot also offers white-labeled cloud entertainment services across operators including Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S); The San Jose Mercury News reports mSpot will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary, with the white-label partnerships remaining intact.

The mSpot acquisition follows a week after Samsung expanded its Music Hub streaming service to include a scan-and-match feature enabling consumers to access their digital music library across multiple platforms and devices.

Announced in conjunction with the new Galaxy S III smartphone, the revamped Music Hub scans the user's hard drive, matching their songs with the 17 million tracks available in Samsung's library and making that content accessible via the cloud. Music Hub closely resembles Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iTunes Match, which mirrors music library files with a 256 kbps AAC DRM-free version culled from the iTunes Store, offering consumers anytime/anywhere access to their collections via the iCloud digital media storage platform.

Available for download from the Samsung Apps storefront, the subscription-based Music Hub app offers unlimited streaming access, allowing users to browse and search for content by applying filters like new releases, genres, artists and chart rankings. Music Hub streams tracks via Wi-Fi or 3G connection; in addition to Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets, the service is compatible with the manufacturer's Smart TVs and Home Theatre systems, as well as the desktop.

Music Hub costs $9.99 per month for streaming to one device or $12.99 per month to as many as four devices. The scan-and-match tool is offered free with a paid subscription; by comparison, Apple offers iTunes Match at $24.99 per year.

For more:
- read this New York Times article
- read this San Jose Mercury News article

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