Can Pure's FlowSongs compete with Spotify and iTunes?

Pure launches new service to allow consumers to buy tunes directly from their radio
Pure launches new service to allow consumers to buy tunes directly from their radio

Pure's new radio service, 'FlowSongs' launches in beta this week, promising to let music fans buy tunes that they like directly from their radio.

It's an innovative concept, for sure, and one that we've been talking to Pure's marketing and product development guys about behind the scenes for some time.

The option to hit a 'buy' button on your digital or internet radio and have the tune immediately emailed to you sounds great. In theory.

But can FlowSongs, Pure's great white cloud-based music hope take on the likes of Spotify and iTunes? Or is it just digital pie in the sky?

FlowSongs beta in UK

Pure's FlowSongs service in a public beta in the UK on Monday 16 August, allowing users with a Sensia or Pure Flow compatible connected radio to test out the new music-buying tech.

Pure is pitching FlowSongs as, "a ground-breaking, cloud-based music service that allows the user to identify (tag) tracks playing on any radio station and buy them directly from any Pure radio with Flow technology built-in.

Pure sensia: will radio listeners want to buy tunes from their device?

Pure Sensia: Will radio listeners want to buy tunes from their device?

"FlowSongs is currently exclusive to UK customers as a public beta with an international roll out taking place later in the year."

After launch on Monday 16 August, a free 90-day trial will be made available

Colin Crawford, Pure's director of marketing says FlowSongs is the "start of an exciting journey for Pure and our customers," and a, "unique and easy-to-use cloud-based music service that delivers a bridge between radio, which is the most popular way of discovering new music, and the ability to own that music."

Will Page, chief economist at PRS for Music, adds: "FlowSongs sows all the same seeds of success that YouTube offered back in the summer of 2006 by giving the fan instant gratification – you hear it, like it and now you can buy it."

Will you buy music?

In terms of what file format you can buy the tunes you like on the radio, Pure is slightly unclear in its press release, telling use that songs "can also be downloaded in a high-quality MP3 format to a PC or Mac and added to the user's MP3 collection."

Whether or not you will have the option of buying a lossless FLAC or hi-res Wav file of the tune of your choice has yet to be confirmed. If so, then the service may well appeal more to the audiophile music consumer.

If not, then it is hard to see how FlowSongs, with tracks priced between 79p and £1.29 depending on the publisher, and delivered by 7digital, can possibly start to compete with leading streaming services such as Spotify or the bigger download stores such as iTunes and the Amazon MP3 Store.

Subscription-based pay-for-music service

We put exactly that question to Pure's Marketing Director Colin Crawford, who told TechRadar:

"FlowSongs hasn't been launched to compete with the likes of Spotify or iTunes.

"We see FlowSongs as complementary to these services and adding value for users of our internet-connected digital radios. We don't even mind if people use the service to tag the song then download it from another provider.

"For us it's about giving consumers a simple and intuitive way to discover and purchase songs from the radio, which is the most popular way of discovering new music, and we see that as a positive step for both the music industry and the radio industry."

After the free 90 day trial, Pure also plans to charge an annual subscription fee of £2.99 a year for FlowSongs "enabling them to identify an unlimited number of tracks as well as purchase tracks (as long as the user's Lounge Account is topped up with credit) for a further twelve months."

Pure hopes that its consumer base – or at least those that currently tune in to radio via a Sensia, Evoke Flow, Avanti Flow, Oasis Flow and Siesta Flow - will pick up on the idea and give the service a go when the free beta launches later this month.

You can check out for more on FlowSongs

Adam Hartley