Tag Archives: virgin media

Spotify on Virgin Media

Internet service provider Virgin Media has finally announced an “exclusive and groundbreaking partnership with Spotify” that makes it the first UK digital entertainment provider to offer Spotify bundled with broadband and on TV. You can read through the offical press release, but here are the bullet points with comments.

  • Spotify Unlimited and Spotify Premium will be available from Virgin Media

These are Spotify’s two paid-for services, so Spotify on Virgin will be ad-free.


  • Use Spotify on your TV (through Virgin Media’s TiVo box)

Virgin Media’s TiVo box (aka Virgin Media Powered by TiVo) has an Apps section which will undoubtedly be where you’ll launch Spotify from. This will be the first paid-for app on Virgin, as all the others (iPlayer, YouTube etc.) are available for free to all customers.


  • Bundled solution for customers on Virgin Mobile

As with previous deals with 3, I expect this means Virgin Mobile customers will get phones with Spotify pre-installed and monthly subscription built into the contract. There will probably also be specials like free Spotify Premium for two months or six months (both these deals have been offered on Three Mobile).


  • Available to both new and existing Virgin Media customers

As an existing Virgin Media customer this is good news for me!


  • Existing Spotify users on Virgin Media broadband can keep existing accounts and still take advantage of bundled offers

Your username (and playlists) will remain, but this sounds like it would involve switching your monthly payments from Spotify to Virgin Media to receive the bundled offer.


  • Customers choosing Spotify through Virgin Media benefit from exclusive features, content, and special promotions

Will be interesting to see exactly what these exclusives entail. I expect they might include things like linking songs in Spotify to Virgin Media’s TV On Demand music video service, and discount subscriptions for the first 6 months (Virgin Media usually have a “six months half price” deal for all new customers).


  • Spotify app on TiVo jointly developed by Virgin Media and Spotify

…so expect any bugs you find to be caused by the code written by “the other guys” :p


  • Due to launch in the coming months, rolling out to existing Virgin Media customers first (with “special offers”)

Early rumors suggested initial trials with select customers in July, but my sources insist that they’re a little way from that.


The bundles themselves are:

  • Virgin Media broadband with Spotify
  • Virgin Media Powered by TiVo with Spotify
  • Virgin Mobile with Spotify (non-exclusive)

Existing bundles include things like “10Mb broadband and phone bundle: £5 a month for 3 months then £13.50 a month.” These bundles have the option to add top ups such as faster broadband, landline talk-time and additional TV channels, so I expect Spotify will be added as an extra here.

The press release didn’t give any indication of price, but The Telegraph is claiming it will cost the same as Spotify’s current pricing (i.e. £5/month for Spotify Unlimited and £10/month for Spotify Premium), although confusingly they then go on to say that the price point is “still unclear.” I would expect the price to be cheaper than subscribing through Spotify directly, even apparently bundled for free. As Mark Mulligan says:

Spotify and Virgin will have to hit upon heavily subsidized prices, ideally with the cost to consumer hidden entirely in some bundles.  Simply offering a couple of £ discount won’t fly.

This has been a great week for Spotify, what with this Virgin Media announcement, the release of an updated iPhone app that finally brings playlist folders to mobile (yay!), and most-importantly (for our American friends) the official confirmation of Spotify USA.

Spotify’s Summer of Rumors (UPDATED)

There seems to be more than the usual amount of Spotify rumors flying around this summer: I guess that’s what results from a big cash injection and slow news days at the tech sites. Here at The Pansentient League we usually wait until there are at least two independent sources of a story before we report it, but I thought it might be fun to post a round-up of the current speculation.


Spotify to Launch in US – CONFIRMED!!!

The rumor that just keeps on giving, I’ve lost count of the amount of times a tech site has proclaimed they have inside sources confirming Spotify will launch in the USA soon. “Spotify US Launch Is Just Days Away” said siliconvalleywatcher.com back in June, for example. TechCrunch got so fed up with these false news stories that they used it as the basis for a joke post at the end of 2010.  But Spotify have offices and staff in New York and so the US launch really is just a matter of time. Spotify VP Jonathan Forster recently saidWe won’t launch before July 5th” and that “We’re signing the remaining deals as I speak.” These are the quotes that led to all the Mid-July launch stories you might have read.


Spotify to Launch in Denmark

The latest country to get the Spotify Speculation treatment is Denmark. Apparently Spotify and KODA (the Danish collecting society for songwriters, composers and music publishers) have been in negotiations for over a year and this is now nearing completion.


Spotify to Launch in Belgium

Spotify will soon be available in Belgium,” claimed De Standaard.be a few days ago. They state that De Morgen is reporting that Spotify is negotiating with Belgacom and Telenet about who will offer the service, although checking the De Morgen website only leads to story from April about how “Spotify has no interest in the Belgian market.”


Spotify Music on Facebook

We’ve already posted “Spotify and Facebook: the story so far.” Forbes’ Parmy Olson reported at the end of May 2011 that Spotify would be embedded in Facebook and that this “could be launched in as little as two weeks.” She obviously got her timeline wrong, but Facebook’s announcement that it will “launch something awesome” this week has re-fueled this speculation.


Spotify to Power Virgin Media – CONFIRMED!!!

Another rumor that’s been rumbling on for a while now is that Spotify are negotiating with Virgin Media to power their music service. “Virgin Media set to partner with Spotifyclaimed The Telegraph back in October 2010. Last week the Guardian wrote that “Virgin Media close to deal to pave way for digital music service” stating that a deal has now been agreed in principle. They claim trials will begin this summer with a country-wide rollout by the end of the year.


Spotify to Launch a Spaceship

My favorite rumor is the one started by Spotify CEO Daniel Ek himself. Back in April, Ek tweeted that “Spotify is launching a space rocket” (note the shameless out-of-context thing I did there 😉 Of  course that was Ek’s joke to highlight how ludicrous media speculation around Spotify can be, but I would point to one Sir Richard Branson, another former music industry genius who now really has launched spaceships



Comparison of UK On-Demand HD Movie Providers

Nialli over at Virgin Media High Definition HD recently blogged about how Apple TV has recently made HD TV series available on its platform. This prompted me to have a look at the current options available in the UK for on-demand High-Definition movies.

If I wanted to watch a movie right now, in HD (and not on dodgy download), what are my options? Assuming I can’t be bothered going to my local Blockbusters, there seem to be four services I could use:

  • Virgin Media Filmflex – provided you are in a cabled area and have a V+ HD subscription
  • Xbox LIVE Marketplace – provided you have an Xbox and a decent broadband connection
  • BT Vision – provided you have a BT home hub
  • Sky Anytime – provided you have a Sky+ HD subscription to their movie channels. I’ve not included regular Sky Movies HD as these aren’t on-demand.

Here’s a breakdown of how many HD movies each service currently offers:

Note I didn’t compare Tiscali TV (who have over 1000 movies on-demand but don’t say on their website whether any of these are in HD), or Apple TV (since I don’t have Apple TV and their website also doesn’t list HD movies).

The Xbox LIVE Marketplace easily wins here, with 114 movies available now in HD. Virgin Media is a poor second with 25 HD movies. BT Vision and Sky Anywhere have fewer than 20 each.

As a percentage of total movies available, the Xbox LIVE Marketplace wins again (excluding Sky Anytime, which has only SD or only HD depending on your subscription):

Virgin Media has only 5% of its VOD movies available in HD, compared with Xbox’s impressive 43%. BT Vision is even worse at a paltry 2%.

The cost of a rental is the only thing that seems pretty consistent (although again, not including Sky Anytime as its VOD movies are “free” provided you subscribe to the Sky Movies packages):

Although all around the £3 mark, BT Vision is cheapest for standard HD movies at £2.88 per rental. Xbox is cheapest for new releases at £4.59. Virgin Media charges a penny shy of a fiver for a new release, making it the most expensive option here.


For range and variety of on-demand HD movies, the Xbox LIVE Marketplace offers the best choice. It’s also cheapest for new-release movies. Best of all, you only need a half-decent broadband connection to have access to all this content: no need for a BT-only phone, Sky dish, or Cable-only service. Even if you never play a single videogame, the Xbox as a high-definition media server is a great investment, provided your broadband isn’t capped or limited too much when you fancy a movie.