Samsung in trouble for making Milk Music a free service

Music milk logo canvasSamsung has drawn the ire of the Korea Music Copyright Association with its Milk Music app. The group of record labels signed a contract with Samsung stating that the tech major would begin charging for the streaming service starting Oct. 10.

Samsung is still offering Milk for free to the owners of certain smartphones, but it is paying the streaming charges to Soribada, a subcontractor and local music distributor. The association ended its contract with Soribada today as a result, claiming that continuing to operate Milk Music without its approval would be a copyright infringement.

“On the back of its capital as a conglomerate, Samsung has demolished the legalized music market established by the industry over the past 10 years, under the name of ‘innovative free music service’ marketing,” was the official statement from the copyright group, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Neither Soribada nor Samsung have issued statements on the association’s move, possibly because to an outside observer, it doesn’t seem to make much sense. Usually, as long as the license fees get paid, all parties can be happy. But this issue of requiring listeners to shoulder the cost when Samsung seems content to pay out of pocket is odd. Streaming services with any interest in the Korean market may want to keep an eye on this situation and whether it winds up in court.

Anna Washenko