T-Mobile is continuing its shake-up of mobile music, adding 11 more streaming services to its Music Freedom plan. That means more places where T-Mobile customers can jam out to tunes without it counting against their high-speed data plans. The new inclusions are Aud.io, Dash Radio, DatPiff, Jango, KCRW, Noon Pacific, Radio Danz, SomaFM, Spinrilla, StreamOn, and TuneIn Premium.
The range of the new expansion shows how expansive T-Mobile is making this program. It covers the mainstream to the niche, the well-funded to the scrappy upstarts. T-Mobile has said that at this point, Music Freedom covers 95% of music from streaming services. Other mobile carriers have introduced data-free music streaming packages, but none of the others have added this degree of coverage.
From the perspective of the music services, the data-free approach is a desirable benefit for listeners. Rusty Hodge, head of newly added SomaFM, told RAIN News that T-Mobile’s free-data music plan was unfair to services not included in the first wave. “By initially including only a very small percentage of streaming services, it reinforces the major streaming services at the expense of smaller and independent webcasters,” Hodge commented in June, 2014.
Today Rusty Hodge is clearly pleased to have his service added, noting that SomaFM’s complex distribution, spread across multiple servers and bitrates, slowed down its inclusion in T-Mobile’s plan. “It was a bit more complex for them to configure their network to work with us,” Hodge said.
“A lot of our listeners have responded very favorably to this. It seems like most people are more comfortable with using something knowing that it won’t be affecting their data allowances or cost them more,” Rusty Hodge said. “He noted that even though his platform could be streamed at good audio quality for about 130 hours before hitting the 2 GB cap, it was good to remove any potential concern for streams with higher bitrates.”