Media & Services > Wireless Media Blog

MixRadio’s Extended Service LINE-up

by User Not Found | May 21, 2015

I’ve been a fan of MixRadio, so I was both happy to see the LINE acquisition going through after the Microsoft spinoff, and anxious to watch what would come out of the deal. Finally the veil is taken off and beta is left behind: on the 19th May, MixRadio announced that the service is available to iOS and Android users.

Admittedly the mobile music streaming market is crowded and with the recent high profile, though not necessarily successful, launch of Tidal and the expected entry of Apple, riding on the Beats Music asset it acquired likely to launch at its WWDC event in June, it is only going to become more crowded. However, in addition to the focus on personalisation and social, two features stand MixRadio out from its competitors:

  • One, it offers free-tier listeners offline listening;
  • Two, it’s advertising free.

This means a user could get on a free-tier what he could only get on a paid-tier from services like Spotify (except, for example, there is still the limit on the number of tracks one can skip within an hour, and users can’t select individual tracks).  Apparently, these features are backed by LINE’s financial support. As a matter of fact, the announcement billed the expansion into iOS and Android as “co-marketing opportunities” with LINE. I think this is an accurate description of the partnership:

  • For LINE, which has long been aiming to expand into a VAS distribution platform in addition to being a successful OTT messaging service, these unique features, which come at a marketing cost, could be a good tool to attract and retain consumers to the LINE service family;
  • As I said in my blog shortly after the LINE deal was announced, MixRadio could only continue to offer the unique experience if it could find a parent company that “does not need to rely on the revenues generated directly from music streaming”. Actually, even if MixRadio could generate a sizeable income through premium subscription and selling music for download, it would not mean that it could be profitable, as we have lately learned from Spotify’s financials and its contract details with Sony Music.

Meanwhile, MixRadio is also expanding beyond just another streaming service. In the same announcement, MixRadio was also highlighting the deal with HTC to provide personalised music news to HTC users. This is an extension of MixRadio’s current feature to provide background information to the artists being played, sourced from Wikipedia.

I wouldn’t go as far as claiming that MixRadio beat Spotify by a day to expand beyond streaming, but incidentally, at its event full of theatrics in New York on the 20th May, Spotify displayed its ambition to go well beyond just music streaming by unveiling its revamped new app, which doesn’t fall too much short of a full-blown social network, offering new features from podcasts to video. Oh, there is still music streaming, in case you wonder. This can be read as a measure to increase its engagement with users which in turn will increase its appeal to advertisers, but can also be seen a pre-emptive defensive move to fend off aggression from high engagement social networks coming music’s way, while the video features allow Spotify to compete with YouTube Music Key. The world is getting more interesting, and it can only be good news for consumers.

Anything else that MixRadio beats Spotify? Yes, it has Taylor Swift, if that’s what you care about.

Anything more to be desired? Well, I find it a bit odd that, when launching the new app on my phone for the first time it prompted me to log on with Facebook, Google+ or Twitter accounts (of course in addition to the options of logging on with an existing account or creating a new account), but not LINE account. It looks some backend integration between the two platforms is still going on.

And it doesn’t have The Beatles, but that’s another long and winding story.


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