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Need to know – Pure FlowSongs and The Lounge

It might sound a bit retro, but recording songs off the radio is back

What is it?

If you’ve ever sat in front of a ghetto blaster listening to the Top 40 with one finger trembling over the record button, welcome back. Pure’s FlowSongs – launching on Monday – is the digital equivalent of those halcyon days, without the DJ jabbering over the intros of half the songs on your mix tape.

How does FlowSongs work?

It’s a one-button solution that tags music you’re listening to on the radio, then lets you buy it and keep it. Pure’s in good company on this – it’s teamed up with Shazam for the tagging and one of the world’s biggest download catalogues, 7digital, which has in the region of half a million tracks licensed for the UK. You just touch the Flow button while you’re listening, and you can buy it from the radio itself.

What Flow button?

The one on your Pure Evoke Flow, Avanti Flow, Oasis Flow, Sensia or Siesta Flow. You’ll need one of these to play, which rules out downloading in the car or while jogging. For now. Once you’ve downloaded the tunes, though, they’re yours to keep and use anywhere you like. All the tracks are DRM-free and almost all are served up at 320kbps when downloaded. They stream at 128kbps.

And the cost?

After a 90-day grace period, it’s £2.99 per year for the subscription (that covers your Shazam tagging, essentially), then you pay the going market rate for songs. Pure reckons the majority are between 79p and £1.29, though they’ve seen tracks going for as little as 15p. Not going-for-a-song enough for you? There’s potential to give away tracks during radio promos and Pure has touted the idea of free download weekends, too. Accounts are maintained online at The Lounge (thelounge.com), though credit can be topped up on the radios, too.

Out on Monday, you say?

The public beta starts on Monday, with the service going fully legit before Christmas. For now, it’s UK-only, but there will be an international launch later in the year.

And will it work?

It’s surprisingly impressive, actually, and definitely an intuitive way to buy music you like. Pure says that more people are listening to radio now than ever, despite the likes of Spotify creeping up on it, so there’s no reason it can’t be huge. It does mean lots of people will have to buy a new internet radio, which is a hurdle, but we think this is a genius service. One thing is certain: it beats standing by the radio with your finger on the record button.

Official site: FlowSongs