Japanese mobile messaging service LINE has acquired Microsoft’s MixRadio music streaming service for an undisclosed amount. Microsoft had inherited MixRadio as part of its Nokia devices and services business acquisition, earlier this year. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it’s expected to be completed by early 2015.
In July this year, it was reported that MixRadio is set to be spun-off into an independent company, after Microsoft announced plans to cut 18,000 jobs. At the time, MixRadio head Jyrki Rosenberg had told Music Ally that post the spin-off Microsoft and MixRadio will continue to maintain strong links and the app will continue to be preloaded on Windows Phone smartphones. Last month, a source-based TechCrunch report mentioned that Microsoft is actively seeking investors to spin-off MixRadio into an independent entity, and that a deal could soon be closed.
Earlier this month, LINE had also announced the launch of its own subscription-based music streaming service LINE MUSIC, in partnership with record label companies Avex Digital and Sony Music Entertainment. Currently, the company has revealed very little information regarding LINE MUSIC though it did reveal that 480,000,000 JPY (around $4 million) has been earmarked for this service.
It seems most likely that LINE MUSIC and MixRadio will remain separate services. While LINE MUSIC will be for the Japanese market, MixRadio will help LINE reach out to markets outside Asia. LINE has about 170 million monthly active users, however 87 million of them are in Japan, Taiwan & Thailand. Also, the MixRadio acquisition will save LINE a lot of time, effort and money required to acquire licenses to operate in individual countries where MixRadio already has a presence.
Windows Phone users in India will be hoping LINE reinstates the unlimited downloads feature for offline listening on MixRadio, which was discontinued for Indian users recently. This feature was one of the highlights of the service, from an Indian perspective, as it reduced data bills and users didn’t have to depend on data connections to continue listening to their favourite tracks. Also, following this acquisition Android and iOS apps for MixRadio might finally be available.
The Pandora-style personal radio service MixRadio made its debut in 2011, when it was known as Nokia Music. It’s already available in 31 countries, including India and China. Indian users got to sample MixRadio for the first time in November 2013, when the music service was extended to both Windows Phone-based Lumia devices and new S40 devices.
From Nokia Music, to Ovi music, to Nokia Music, to Nokia MixRadio, to MixRadio, to Line’s MixRadio, that sure has been quite a journey. — Clinton Jeff (@clintonjeff) December 18, 2014