I wouldn’t call myself a music aficionado, but I do know the lyrics to every song that charted in the 1980s, as well as pretty much anything you could sing into a hairbrush from the ’70s and ’90s.
Karaoke is my guilty pleasure, although I have a voice that repels the neighbourhood dogs.
Electric Jukebox asked me if I’d like to review their new simplified streaming service. A gadget that turns your TV into a jukebox – sounded interesting.
Here’s the pitch:
The service includes over 29 million songs, without adverts, or the need for a subscription (for the first year). So there’s no need to set up an account or put in your credit card details. Just unpack the box, plug the dongle into the back of the TV and play music through your TV speakers.
No need for expensive speakers or any additional hardware. No passwords to remember, no ties to a never ending subscription service.
The music is categorised by mood, genre or artist, and playlists (or mixtapes as they’re called) have been curated by a clutch of celebrities, including Robbie Williams and Cheryl Crow. You can create your own mixtapes too.
Electric Jukebox imagines families and friends congregating around the TV to listen to music. A little like the good ole’ days of huddling around the wireless. This is meant to be a shared experience.
I had friends round for Sunday lunch and this seemed to be the ideal opportunity to try out the community-spirited Electric Jukebox.
It was very simple to set up.
Once the dongle was plugged into the back of the telly, I used the wireless controller to input my wifi password and it was ready to use. To find a song, either point and click on the on-screen keyboard, or use the voice activation.
We found all the music we were looking for, and we did set it some interesting challenges.
But after a few minutes’ discussion, we couldn’t figure out why we would use this over any other streaming service.
If you have Spotify or Apple Music or any of the myriad of other available options, it is hard to see the benefit of Electric Jukebox. In fact there are some clear disadvantages:
I don’t want to listen to music on my TV. Apart from the fact that the speakers are crap, I don’t usually listen to music as an isolated activity. I listen to music while I’m cooking, or working, or dancing around my bedroom with the curtains closed.
If there were music videos to watch, I might sit still and enjoy the music, but there’s nothing of interest to look at.
Even better, if the controller (which looks a bit like a microphone) WAS A MICROPHONE… OMG, just imagine the karaoke parties!
Having said all of that, we came to the conclusion that Electric Jukebox isn’t really aimed at people like me. It’s aimed at those who have never subscribed to a music service, who don’t have speakers in every room, and who are perhaps a bit intimidated when it comes to setting up new technology.
Take my dad for example. He is still listening to music through CDs, as are most of his generation. The first time I showed him Sonos, he was aghast! What was this witchcraft?
I thought the Electric Jukebox might make the perfect present for him, so I gave it to him, on the condition that he help me make a video to prove how simple it is to install.
Over to you Dad!!:
As you can see, Dad started using it within minutes of taking it out of the box and he is enjoying it very much. I doubt he will listen to the curated mixtapes – it being unlikely that Vic Damone or Perry Como are among Cheryl Crow’s chosen artists – but he now has so much more choice at his fingertips.
My conclusion? This is music streaming made simple. It will make a great gift for the baby boomer generation. But with a price tag of £169 for the first year and then £52 thereafter (if you want the premium service with no adverts), it is quite an investment if you already have music on the go.
However if they bring out a karaoke version, I’m buying shares.
Much love, Vx
[Disclosure: No sponsorship here. Thank you to Electric Jukebox who supplied me with a product for review. I use affiliate links]