Pure, Shazam, 7digital Team To Sell Music Downloads Through Radios

Digital radio maker Pure has launched a service allowing people to buy digital music tracks via their radios.

Available on five existing radio sets with more to follow, FlowSongs works by using an embedded version of Shazam, activated by a button press, to identify tracks being played through the the radio.

Although Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) owns nearly nine percent of Pure’s holding company Imagination, FlowSongs does not use iTunes Store for distribution. Instead, the retail partner is 7digital, the online music retailer of which HMV (LSE: HMV) owns half.

Tracks are priced at 7digital’s standard £0.79 per track and stream from a server but can be downloaded via web as DRM-free MP3s. Pure says it will give 90 days for free when users first register and users must also pay £2.99 a year just to use the in-built Shazam, even if they don’t want to subsequently buy tracks (after all, Shazam’s main mobile apps now are pay-for, too).

Of course, there’s one big reason radio listeners may not buy tracks from their radio and why this service may not take off – folks are already getting just the same music from the in-built radio stations, most of which nowadays rotate hit songs so frequently that you can bet one of your favourite tracks will be spun in the next half-hour.

Clicking on the radio to buy MP3s for other devices, however – that’s useful and timely.

Notably, FlowSongs is also eschewing the opportunity to add online music to its radios using the unlimited subscription model, rather than conventional a la carte purchasing. A feature like Pandora’s personalised radio playback could prove popular.

FlowSongs is essentially a partnership between Pure, Shazam and 7digital. But ultimately it’s just one service among many…

Bear in mind – when UBC Media tried developing similar technology to let people click on their mobiles to buy tracks being played on radio, it lost nearly £2 million.

“A lot of music listening is an impulse purchase,” 7digital CEO Ben Drury told Pure’s lengthy Wednesday-afternoon launch event, talking up the “one-click” functionality.