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Music Startup Beyond Oblivion Raises $77M With An Eye On India, Malaysia, US

Beyond Oblivion, a News Corp backed new digital music marketplace that enables pay-wall free social distribution of between licensed devices, has raised $77 million in funding, from Wellcome Trust and returning investor, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. The funding Beyond Oblivion the company the financial backing to buy  worldwide content rights, and deploy a global delivery infrastructure and market commercial launch. ABC News reports that Beyond Oblivion is looking to launch in India and Malaysia in August 2011, and in the US thereafter.

Massive Ambition; “Comes With Music” Across Device OEMs

Beyond Oblivion might well be called Massive Ambition: it is essentially trying to create what is calling the “Infinite Music Library”, link music downloads to device purchases, and allow licensed devices to share all the music that they want. Sounds a lot like Nokia’s bundled music offering ‘Comes With Music’, that was recently discontinued in most markets…except that that Beyond Oblivion would plan to be OEM agnostic.

The business model is interesting, since it will apparently incorporate the price of music licensing into the cost that the consumer pays for the device, and given that devices are changed every few years, there will be recurring revenues. However, given that it allows sharing only between licensed devices, it will need to incorporate DRM.

On its site, Beyond Oblivion suggests that in the summer of 2011, it will distribute a limited number of free licenses as part of a global Beta-test of the music service. It plans to announce partnerships with leading device manufactures, network operators, consumer brands and investors

Online Music in India

In India, the following models are in operation:
– Paid DRM Free downloads: we really like this deployment for the movie F.A.L.T.U., particularly because the music is DRM free. You own the music you buy. On the negative side, there isn’t much content available for purchase yet.
Subscription model: started by Hungama.com, both online and mobile: it’s priced reasonably, but has DRM, with content restricted to three devices.
– Free online streaming: as deployed by the (still alpha) Gaana.com*, Rediff Songbuzz, In.com music, ibibo MusicSaavn.com, Google Music as well as pirated sites like Songs.pk. This is the online (free) equivalent to the Mobile Radio service, and companies are looking at it from an advertising perspective, looking to integrate display ads, as well as stream ad jingles. On the negative side: it requires connectivity for listening to music.

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Corrigendum: in the headline, we’d incorrectly mentioned that the company has raised $77, instead of $77 million. Apologies. (And thanks for correcting)

*Disclosure: Indiatimes, which has launched Gaana.com, is an advertiser with MediaNama

Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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