Samsung’s Milk Music adds commercials, loses edge

At this point, there are few reasons anyone would opt for Samsung‘s new Milk Music streaming service over Spotify or Pandora, and the biggest one just went out the window. Less than two months after the service’s March 7 launch, Samsung has finally ended its initial no-cost, ad-free offering, and will soon charge $4 per month for its “Premium Service” subscription option; Samsung snuck the news into a slick infographic via its blog today.

The bizarrely titled Milk Music, which is powered by Slacker‘s collection of around 13 million tracks, will still be available at no cost as part of a “Basic Service” package, but just like its stalwart competition, users will be hit with ads in exchange for the free ride. The Premium Service will be ad-free and comes with “exclusive features” that Samsung has yet to reveal.

The move has been expected since Samsung first unveiled its new service, which looks to compete in an exceedingly crowded field. The addition of ads can be seen as an incentive to convert to paid subscriptions, in an industry that has seen slim profit margins even while enjoying an expanding user base.

Top players in the market are also experiencing other monetary complications. Yesterday industry leader Pandora was sued by a number of high profile music labels (Sony, Warner, Capitol) who accuse the service of failing to pay royalties for thousands of pre-1972 recordings. The lawsuits come almost exactly one month after Pandora’s decision to raise its monthly subscription cost from $4 to $5 in light of the rising costs of music royalties. Beats Music is facing a similar debacle as it continues to pour money into its assault on Spotify. All in all, the music-streaming market is a volatile one to jump into right now.

Even with a backer as monstrous as Samsung, Milk Music will have a tough battle ahead if the new service wants to give Spotify and other competitors a run for their money. Have you used Milk Music yet? How did you like it? Let us know in the comments.

Get our Top Stories delivered to your inbox: