DUBLIN -- The boss of Sky wishes Sky hadn't ditched its Spotify-rivalling music service -- but with 3D disappointing, could it follow Sky Songs into oblivion?
UK satellite broadcaster Sky launched the online music streaming and download service Sky Songs in October 2009. It was backed by the four major music labels, had better search and playlist features than rivals, and partnered with music blogs like Popjustice and Holy Moly for more editorial content. But the free version only let you listen to 30 seconds of a song, in contrast to the ad-supported free version of Spotify that offered full songs. That was a bum note for music fans and.
But speaking at technology conference Web Summit in Ireland, BSkyB's chief executive Jeremy Darroch admitted he regretted the decision to kill Sky Songs. Listing projects that had failed, Darroch said, "We had our own music service which didn't work...we should have kept it going, in many respects I wish we had. But we chose not to and we moved on."
"Our appetite to try things will always be to have a go," says Darroch, insisting that the broadcasting giant is capable of trying new things -- and dumping them if they fail -- with the same agility as a much smaller startup.
"What you've got to do...is walk away from things very quickly," he said, asserting that Sky has "an appetite to get into things but can quickly dispense with them and move on."
And in almost the same breath, Darroch admitted "3D hasn't reached the level we expected." So could that kill-it-and-move-on philosophy be applied to 3D?
3D was meant to be the next big thing in entertainment but customers aren't keen on the glasses, the headaches or nausea, the extra cost and the lack of decent content. Cinema audiences aren't impressed, while TV manufacturers already seem to have shifted their hopes to 4K as the next generation of telly.
Darroch appeared onstage at Web Summit alongside Sky board member Danny Rimer of venture capital company Index Ventures. Rimer is more usually to be found backing scrappy startups with their sights fixed on the monolithic likes of Sky, but he admires Sky's philosophy, which he characterises as "instead of waiting for other companies to disrupt us, let's disrupt ourselves."
"If Sky weren't disrupting themselves," he revealed, "we'd be financing the disruptors."
More successful initiatives from Sky include Now TV, an online film, TV and sport streaming service for people to watch Sky channels without forking out for a dish. That involved a partnership with hardware manufacturer Roku to build the £10 Now TV set-top box.
Sky is looking to more partnerships and investment in future, investing in technology including.