Blog Post

MOG Finally Goes Mobile With New iPhone, Android Apps

Better late than never, streaming music service MOG has finally introduced its mobile application for iPhone (s aapl) and Android (s goog) devices, providing streaming access to a library of eight million songs for a monthly fee of $9.99. Originally anticipated soon after MOG’s fall 2009 launch, then showcased at March’s SXSW interactive conference, the apps are expected to go live in the App Store and Android Market today.

Although it was first to enter the U.S.-based market among the new wave of cloud-based streaming services when it launched its desktop service in December 2009, MOG’s entry into the mobile arena follows the arrivals of Rdio and Thumbplay, which offer similar desktop-plus-mobile plans that cost about $10 monthly. (Both Rdio and MOG also deliver streaming music to PCs for $5 a month.) MOG also goes head-to-head with Spotify in the UK market, though the latter’s promised U.S. launch has been delayed so often that it’s starting to appear apocryphal.

My week-long test drive of MOG’s iPhone app showed how far mobile streaming music apps have come since Rhapsody became the first U.S. subscription service to introduce an app last September. It also indicated how far they have to go. MOG’s feature-rich app allows many levels of micromanaging one’s music desires, offering on-demand queuing, playlisting, offline caching and multiple degrees of control over what appears in a radio stream, from single-artist shuffles to Pandora-like mixes of similar artists and songs via a unique slider interface. Some might even say the feature set clutters the app, but once I got used to it I found it to be the most flexible music app on my mobile phone, with functionality that outstrips its peers.

Still, I found MOG’s initial app glitchy. Once, it mysteriously defaulted to 30-second clips in the middle of an album, then delivered full tracks on a second try. It re-started a cached track multiple times by itself while I sat in a train tunnel, and on one occasion it suddenly repeated a song long after the album had ended and the phone sat idle. And like its cloud competitors, MOG still hasn’t solved the continuity issues around streaming an album with songs that run together; abrupt gaps occur as one song ends and the next is still loading. It’s like listening to a badly burned CD — something I associate with a free experience rather than a paid one.

MOG has improved its song catalog impressively since launch, and has filled in a lot of the gaps that the newer rival Rdio is still remedying. Both compete in an increasingly crowded music subscription field alongside incumbents Napster and Rhapsody, and that field seems ripe for a shakeout within a year or so, especially if handset makers or carriers decide to add music content to their offerings via acquisitions. MOG represents an increasingly attractive standalone offering, even if consumers have historically never demonstrated all that much desire to subscribe to a music library. Instead, it could be a viable takeover target, as a mobile music service bundled with an existing wireless subscription might finally produce the successful access model that has proven so elusive thus far.

8 Responses to “MOG Finally Goes Mobile With New iPhone, Android Apps”

  1. David, you speak with confidence that the apps you released yesterday are glitch-free. I have a Nexus One, and the app runs so poorly it’s essentially unusable. (I’m not the only one experiencing problems–see the support page for other users’ descriptions of their problems: <M>. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of this app, and let’s just say I’m extremely disappointed. Was the Android app not tested on the Nexus One, Google’s flagship smartphone?

    I think Rdio has a better approach to developing their Android app: letting users test it for free (I’m running it and it works, incidentally) rather than charging users for something that doesn’t.

  2. ex customer

    MOG is almost great but they lack some basic navigation tools. Finding new music is next to impossible unless you know what you are looking for.

    I get the feeling that they hide many songs, artists and albums to limit the fees they pay because no other service makes it so hard to find new releases or related artists. You either have to read through countless useless blogs and hope you find the gem or do a direct search for a specific artist. Either way its poor design and is the reason I no longer pay for the service.

  3. “…for a monthly fee of $9.99.” Ugh. That killed it for me right there. Pandora & Slacker are half that price. Even SiriusXM is cheaper than that if you already have a radio. Hulu Plus is $9.99 and you’re still peppered with ads.
    Darn it, MOG, I wanted to like you, but I am just tapped out with these $5-$10 subscriptions all over the place. :/

  4. paul, clearly you have not used our release build as those issues you mentioned were bugs in earlier releases. i’d highly recommend downloading our released versions of the apps as i’m confident you will find the glitches you mentioned non-existestent. (as from perhaps a a second or two between tracks).