Media & Services > Wireless Media Blog

Last One Out, Please Keep The Radio On

by David Mercer | Dec 24, 2014

When every music streaming service has a catalogue of 30+ million songs and every music streaming service provides free listening, there needs something additional to stand out from the crowd.  I have been impressed by, for example, the lyrics displayed on Spotify (albeit through a 3rd party app), and I really look forward to trying out the music videos on the go from YouTube Music Key – no, I’ve not been invited to test out the beta version as I’ve not been a “heavy (enough) user”.

Among these services though, I’ve really liked MixRadio, for its superior social experience, for “taking me personally”, and in particular for its lack of ads during streaming.  However, since the decision was made by Microsoft to spin the service off after its acquisition of the mobile device and service business from Nokia, it has been writing on the wall that MixRadio needs to find alternative income channels to survive.  Bundling with hardware is no longer an option. This could be done through adding advertising, which means losing one of its most appealing features. Alternatively, finding a new parent company that similarly does not need to rely on the revenues generated directly from music streaming, but can use it as a feature to attract users.

Therefore I’m glad to read the news that the OTT messaging service LINE has signed the deal to acquire MixRadio.  This does not only give LINE the edge to become the first instant messaging service to also offer a full-blown music streaming service, but is good news for MixRadio in two-fold. Firstly, it can continue to provide ad free music streaming to non-paying subscribers, a feature still unique among its peers. Secondly, maybe more importantly, it becomes a horizontal service not tied to a particular hardware platform.  As the announcement stated, MixRadio’s partnership with Windows Phone will continue, but it will become a 3rd party application.  If any analogy is needed, one does not need to look further than the successes from horizontalisation of another former service tied to Nokia / Microsoft, HERE Maps.

It may be a tall order to ask for today, as the details of how MixRadio should integrate in the LINE family of services are yet to be worked out, but it may be a fair expectation by this time next year to be able to stream endless Christmas carols through my LINE messenger, without advertisements.

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