JB Hi-Fi to Close Pioneering 'Now' Music Streaming Service Down Under

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Leading Australian music, entertainment and tech retail group JB Hi-Fi has announced it will shutter its “Now” streaming service next month. 

The Melbourne-based company messaged subscribers of its “Now” streaming business with the news it would "sadly" close down on March 17. The retailer, which counts more than 180 bricks-and-mortar stores across the country, gave no reason for pulling the plug (the company never disclosed its "Now" marketshare).

Australia's Music Streaming Market Is Jam-Packed – But Likely Not for Long

JB Hi-Fi’s “Now” became one of the first music streaming models to operate Down Under when it opened for business in 2012, ahead of the likes of Spotify, Deezer and Rdio (which is now defunct). 

Australian consumers now have access to all the major brands in the music streaming space; there are currently 20, according to the Digital Content Guide, a website created by Australian rights holders, though that number will drop to 19 when “Now” closes. 

Still, that's a lot of competition for a small country. The country's population of about 23 million is smaller than Canada's and about one-third that of both France and the United Kingdom.

With all that activity, it should come as no surprise the streaming music space is a growing one Down Under. According to year-on-year trade data published by ARIA for 2014 (the most recent information available), income from streaming services exploded by 111% to A$23 million ($18 million). 

Australian Retailer JB Hi-Fi Launches Beta Version of 'Now' Streaming Service

"Now" will join homegrown digital music services Songl (2014) and BigPond Music (2014) in Australia’s subscription music graveyard.

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