HP has teamed up with Universal Music to try to attract the music-loving public to its latest Windows 8 PCs. But in the world of iTunes, Spotify and - let's face it - illegal downloads, what can the resulting Connected Music service bring to the end user that's fresh and exciting?
VIP experiences, that's HP's cheeky ticket. Whether the chance to see No Doubt at an intimate private show, meet Florence (minus her Machine) back stage, rock out to Metallica on tour, or offer will.i.am grammar lessons*, these yet-to-be-planned ongoing prize draws will be penned in by the HP and Universal Music brains to keep customers engaged. Many include travel and accommodation too.
We have to admit, it's a cracking idea, though a lottery system will mean plenty of sad faces - it's a bit like trying to buy a Glastonbury festival ticket these days.
So what about the service itself? To have the entirety of Universal Music's catalogue at your fingertips in no bad thing. In fact it's a great thing. Whether you like jazz, rock, pop, dance, or pretty much any genre there's something here for everyone. But here's the killer:
"Customers with new HP consumer PCs featuring Windows 8 will have [streaming only] access to … Universal Music’s full catalogue … for 90 days and, for customers with new Windows 8 HP Spectre and HP Envy PCs [only], 10 free mp3 downloads per month for 90 days."
Is 90 days of free streaming and two and a half albums' worth of content really going to be the clincher when it comes to buying a new product? No. Spotify Premium already offers a 30-day free trial including offline listening and mobile access and that includes a chunk of Universal's catalogue already. That costs £10 a month after in the UK, but to continue using Connected Music will also cost an as-yet-unknown monthly fee too.
Why not open up a streaming service with no cut-off date to its services? That would be a genuine exclusive service with bags of appeal. Undoubtedly it's about economics - the music industry in this new digital age is still struggling to hold on during this rocky transition. But customers want more, and artists want to be heard.
Still, if you bag a Windows 8 HP machine any time soon then don't delay in entering into the competitions, as that aspect of the service doesn't have a cut-off date. That's where Connected Music's true value lies, in connecting with the artists that you like. Well, for the lucky few.
*Okay, so we made that one up
A step in the right direction, or music service over-saturation? What do you make of the Connected Music concept?