According to figures from IE Market Research, there are currently 832 million paid users of digital music worldwide, with that number expected to rise to 1.6 billion by 2014. Today, announcements from streamed entertainment provider Aspiro and the music download service 7digital point — respectively announcing a new white-label distribution deal and a new own-branded tablet app — underscore that it’s not just bigger names like Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Spotify looking to capitalize on that growth.
Aspiro — the Swedish music streaming service that is not Spotify — today announced that it had signed a deal with a “new partner” in one of the Benelux countries. Aspiro doesn’t say who the customer is but from its past track record for customers it may be an ISP or a mobile operator. Under the terms of the agreement the partner will sell Aspiro’s streaming service, called WiMP, under a new brand name. Aspiro says that agreement will give it a revenue bump to the tune of 8 million-30 million Swedish Kronor ($1.2 million-$4.6 million) over the next four years.
It says the new service is expected to launch in the next three to six months.
The white-label route is one that we may start to see increasingly from Aspiro as it looks to expand its customer base and subscriber footprint. Currently, it has only one other agreement of the kind, in Portugal. “Although launching WiMP-branded directly to consumers is our main strategy, we are also flexible towards partners who want to use their own branding. This agreement could generate a substantial growth for us,” the CEO of Aspiro, Gunnar Sellæg, said in the company’s statement.
As of June, WiMP had some 300,000 paying users in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Portugal, in addition to another 700,000 via an agreement with Norway’s Canal Digital, whose subscribers can opt for WiMP to be bundled into their pay-TV subscription packages.
The route of offering music services via a local ISP is one that is being tested by Virgin Media with its Spotify deal in the UK. Other partnerships of this kind have seen a lot of success: TDC in Denmark has been offering a music streaming and downloading service, TDC Play, since 2008 in partnership with the company 24/7, and in June it said it had seen 340 million downloads on the service (but no details about actual subscribers).
Aspiro is due to present its interim report for Q3 on November 10, when it might give out more up-to-date details on subscriber numbers and the new customer.
Meanwhile, the music download company 7digital has launched an app optimized for Android tablets — with perhaps the most unique feature being an enhanced graphic interface for browsing new and downloaded music.
The move is part of 7digital’s wider strategy to offer its service via more of its own-branded apps, which it is doing on top of the many deals it has in place to power music download services for a range of companies that include handset makers like Samsung and online music providers like Last.fm.
7digital in September noted 500,000 installs of its Android handset app and 600,000 downloads of its BlackBerry app. It has not said, however, how many music downloads have been made via those apps.