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Cricket to spin off Muve Music, licensing the service to other carriers

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Cricket Communications plans to capitalize on the success of its Muve subscription music service by spinning it off as a new company and licensing the platform to carriers around the world. The company already has one international licensing deal in place with an unnamed carrier, but Cricket feels more operators would find Muve attractive if they weren’t forced to buy it from another carrier, said Bill Ingram, EVP of Strategy for Cricket’s parent company Leap Wireless(s leap).

In the two years since it launched, Muve has attracted more than 1 million subscribers, making it the second-largest music subscription service in the U.S. behind Spotify – that’s despite the fact that Cricket is only a regional carrier mainly serving smaller U.S. cities.

In June, Cricket began packaging Muve into all of its smartphones plans, which explains why subscriptions ballooned by 500,000 in the last six months. But Ingram said that Muve has been a key feature in attracting new subscribers to the Cricket network, and expects between 40 and 50 percent of its customer eventually will sign up for a Muve plan.

Speaking at a Cisco System’s(s csco) event at MWC, Ingram said the spin-off company would offer the music distribution, discoverability and licensing platform as a managed service, though operators would be free to name it whatever they liked as well as set their own rates. While Cricket includes the Muve subscription in the price of its plans, other operators may choose to make it an add-on service or offer more limited subscription plans.

There are a lot of mobile users that can’t afford or are simply unwilling to pay $1 or more per song, which is the digital music model iTunes(s appl) established, Ingrams said. Muve’s flexibility would allow operators to start pricing music in much more accessible ways, for instance selling subscription for 10 cents a day or restricted plans for as low as 50 cents a month, Ingram said.

One Response to “Cricket to spin off Muve Music, licensing the service to other carriers”

  1. i work at a store that sells cricket(along with other prepaid carriers.) no one was signing up for muve until it was fist mandatory if the phone supported it and than bundled free certain phones. while it is true many cricket customer now subscribe it is because wither it is the only way to activate the phone have or included at no extra charge.’

    i would estimate a third or more of the people who have muve on there rate plans can not use it anyway. the reason being it requires a special SD card and they either bought the phone used missing the SD card or upgraded to a larger card. it is very hard to buy a replacement SD card that supports muve, i do not even think they are available new, instead you need to find one that another customer pulled out or maybe get one from a small shop that does repairs and has lots of spare parts.