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Playboy enters music streaming, with racy footage backdrop
[NEW YORK] Playboy, fresh from doing away with full nudity for its models, is taking another step to modernise by entering the booming area of music streaming.
The iconic men's publication founded in 1953 on Wednesday launched Playboy Music, an app for smartphones and tablets that sets racy footage of women to song.
Playboy Music essentially offers original music videos, with subscribers who pay 99 cents each month gaining access to imagery of models posing, acting and lounging to the music.
The app, administered by the music distribution company BAMM.tv, will feature only live recordings in hopes of increasing the chemistry rather than asking the women to move to pre-taped music.
"The models are more than just sexy - they are the focal point of a narrative that connects beauty with music in a way that men will enjoy and women will find empowering," Jeff LaPenna, creative director of the Playboy Music app at BAMM.tv, said in a statement.
Unveiling its first artists, Playboy Music showed an interest in highlighting lesser known acts. Performers include the experimental electronic artist The Flashbulb and Colombian jazz fusion band Monsieur Perine.
The app also presents new material from the latest Playmate of the Year, Eugena Washington. The Palmdale, California native is the first Playmate of the Year since Playboy, fine-tuning itself amid the wide availability of online pornography, decided to end full nudity.
Playboy Enterprises in March said it had hired an investment adviser to look at offering itself for a buyout that could be worth some US$500 million and include the famous Playboy Mansion.
Playboy, which was known for publishing major authors in addition to nude pictures, peaked at circulation of seven million in 1972 with the figure standing last month at around 800,000.
While Playboy Music will offer a much different product than major streaming services such as Spotify, the market for online music has been growing rapidly.
Last year digital music revenue topped physical sales globally for the first time thanks to the popularity of streaming sites, which offer unlimited, on-demand song selection.