Business

The bizarre tale of Electric Jukebox just took another strange turn

By Oliver Smith 7 November 2016
Summary

Will this British music streaming service ever get off the ground?

UPDATE 2016-11-07 – Article amended after Electric Jukebox confirmed it only raised £1.4m this week, not the £7m or £8m as claimed by other publications – the company has raised £7m in total funding to date. The Memo is waiting to hear back on whether reports of Electric Jukebox becoming an AIM-listed company this week are true.

Last year a British music business made headlines after revealing a new streaming service to rival Spotify and Apple.

Robbie Williams, Alesha Dixon and Stephen Fry all appeared on video and on stage to give their support to Electric Jukebox, a wand that streams music through your TV.

Alesha Dixon turned up for the 'launch' of Electric Jukebox in October 2015.

“The innovation that [CEO Rob] Lewis promises will make all the difference is Electric Jukebox’s one-off price, £179 gets you the dongle and 12 months of unlimited streaming from “a comprehensive catalogue” of artists,” we wrote at the time.

Read more: Streaming has failed, says creator of living room music box Electric Jukebox

But after opening pre-orders and then repeatedly missing its launch date – first Christmas 2015, then Easter 2016 – the company, far from a jukebox, went radio silent.

No devices arrived, and I guess anyone that put down £179 to pre-order was left feeling like a sucker.

That is, until today.

This morning a little-known investment group, YOLO Leisure & Technology, stated that it had loaned £1.4m to Electric Jukebox. Other media reports quoted a fundraising figure of £7m or £8m and stated that Electric Jukebox would join the stock market as part of a reverse acquisition, but these figures are in fact Electric Jukebox’s total funding to date and it is not yet clear whether the company has any ambitions to join the London Stock Exchange.

Now Electric Jukebox says “streaming products and services will initially be launched in the UK this month extending to the US and Continental Europe during 2017” and according to media reports is expected this week to announce “the names of two high street retailers interested in stocking the device”.

Finally Electric Jukebox insists that Robbie Williams, Stephen Fry, Sheryl Crow and Alesha Dixon all have shares in the business and are still on board to “assist in marketing Electric Jukebox”.

Will Electric Jukebox actually launch this month? Will this company with no profits, revenues or even sales actually join the stock market? And will its star marketing power actually help turn Electric Jukebox into a real business?

This morning, I’m not feeling confident.