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Universal Music bolsters business model with jointly developed streaming music app

Record label Universal Music, independent digital entertainment enabler Mondia Media and and the GSMA, the leading association for mobile service providers, are jointly developing a new music streaming application called Mondia Mix. This service is a direct head-butt to Spotify, Pandora and soon Apple’s iTunes, all key players in the mobile streaming music business.

The app is subscription based, allowing users to stream curated playlists and songs as well as access some offline. Available for iOS and Android, it will focus on protecting artists’ rights while providing a secure and reliable system for customers.

“Mondia Media and Universal Music are developing this app because they want a piece of the pie in the music streaming, online radio service market,” said Esha Shah, manager of mobile and strategy at Fetch, San Francisco. “Rarely do people have music files saved on their phones anymore. Most people stream their music when they listen to it on mobile.

“So, Universal Music is trying to update its business model to the current music market,” she said. “Mondia Media, as a globally established digital entertainment solution company, poses an efficient way for Universal to try and establish itself as a streaming app.”

The app is available as a white label service, meaning that wireless carrier service providers can change what is needed for each market or demographic.

Easier access
The app can be pre-installed in a similar manner to iTunes radio on the iPhone. When a customer buys a new phone, it will already be available on the phone, fitted for the carrier network’s preferences.

The carriers will be able to control the app through a content management system. There they can make changes and edit the content available.

With the loss of many unlimited service plans and network customers now limited to a data plan, the amount of data an app uses is important. Mondia Media  is optimizing its streaming service with as little data usage possible.

This is a big move for carriers with Internet and streaming radio becoming growing in popularity. Spotify and Pandora are some of the most popular apps on smartphones and large users of network data.

If service providers such as Verizon and AT&T can provide their own streaming music with lesser data usage, this becomes another growth opportunity for them where they are not reduced to dumb pipes for traffic to course through.

Prices for the app will be integrated into the carrier’s bills, allowing users to easily subscribe.

Intense competition
When it comes to music and mobile it seems that the easier the better. ITunes allows users to download a song in less than a minute and Spotify’s database of songs is available to subscribers anytime.

Even more important, this joint effort gives wireless carriers skin in the mobile music streaming game.

“This could benefit service providers by providing them with a ready-made music streaming app that can come pre-installed on mobile phones underneath their service,” Ms. Shah said. “Since music streaming is so popular, mobile service providers can try to tap into this industry’s huge revenue potential by offering their own app for music streaming.

“[That said], the music streaming/online radio service market is so saturated that Mondia Music will have to offer an extremely unique service that benefits users in a way that key players in this market such as Pandora, Spotify or iTunes don’t,” she said. “It will be hard to carve out a unique space in the cluttered landscape of music streaming.”

Final Take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer, New York