LINE, one of the world’s largest mobile messaging apps, launched a music streaming service today. MixRadio, the ad-supported radio style service formerly known as Nokia Music, launched today on both Google Play and the iTunes Store.
MixRadio will be co-marketed by parent company LINE, the Japan-based messaging service which bought the service from Microsoft, and it will be launched in a number of markets around the world, though company representatives declined to say which ones. The service will be built into HTC phones, Harmon/Kardon speakers and the adidas FitWatch.
“It’s huge for us,” MixRadio CEO Jyrki Rosenberg told an audience Tuesday at a media event in midtown Manhattan. “We’ve gone from about five percent of the smartphone market to, essentially, 100 percent of it.”
MixRadio, which creates its playlists by drawing on a catalog of 35 million songs, has been around in one form or another since 1999, and for most of its existence, it has been on the margins of consumer consciousness. Though it was available in 31 countries, the service was available in less than five percent of the world’s smartphones when it was exclusive to Windows phones; representatives from the company declined to say how many monthly active users the service currently has.
Today’s global launch marks a major shift. MixRadio is available in 31 different countries. It was able to launch in so many territories simultaneously because the service still has agreements in place with the major labels left over from its days as Nokia Music. “There aren't many global offerings,” Rosenberg said.
Big Things LINEd Up?
But MixRadio’s availability around the world is just part of the story. It will also have the chance to connect with LINE’s huge global audience. More than 560 million people have downloaded the mobile messaging app, and more than 200 million people use it every month. Though it has users spread out across the world, LINE is especially popular in Asia, where it has become the dominant messaging app in Japan.
Rosenberg said that MixRadio and LINE would be co-marketed in numerous territories around the world, but he was coy about what form these marketing initiatives might take, and which markets they would attack first. “I’m not going to lay out a road map,” he said.
Instead, he alluded to the ways MixRadio’s parent company might benefit from LINE beyond revenues. “There'll be quite an interesting way we can partner with them, also in ways we can bring value to them, not just them bringing value to us,” Rosenberg said.
User listening data could play a large part. “Music taste is a very powerful way to predict consumer behavior,” Rosenberg said.
That data could be used to show labels that it has the ability to deliver value to major record labels. The company, which recently signed a deal with Sony Music Entertainment, is reportedly gearing up to launch its own on-demand streaming music service later this year.
“What it's about is getting consumers to spend time with all of these services,” Rosenberg said.