Line is pulling former Microsoft streaming service MixRadio
Tue 16 Feb 2016
Popular Asian messaging app Line is to shut down MixRadio, 14 months after acquiring the music streaming service from Microsoft.
Originally developed by Nokia in 2007, MixRadio has been known under several titles, such as Nokia Music and Nokia MixRadio. The service was acquired by Microsoft in April 2014 [paywalled], as part of the company’s €5.44 billion takeover of Nokia’s mobile business. Microsoft, already operating Xbox Music, chose to shift MixRadio to Line soon after.
Japan’s Line did not provide much detail on its decision to get rid of MixRadio, but revealed in a statement today that after a ‘careful assessment of the subsidiary’s overall performance, the financial challenges posed by the music streaming market, and priorities of Line Corporation,’ it decided that future growth would be a challenge to guarantee, and opted to discontinue the service ‘in the coming weeks.’
While streaming music is a difficult industry for most, even for top players like Spotify, MixRadio’s strategy was a particularly tough one. It offered free access to radio streams and offline playlists supported by ads, and was entirely focused on mobile – there was no desktop or web version.
MixRadio was initially seen as an opportunity for Line to gain a foothold in global markets, extending the streaming service’s availability from Windows-only to Android and iOS platforms, in an effort to boost its international presence. Despite this push, Line has struggled to branch out of its domestic and local regional markets. The company counts over 215 million monthly active users, in more than 200 countries – but the majority of these are Asian (Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia.)
Having experienced challenging blocks to its expansion, in June 2015 Line said that it would be renewing a dedicated focus on Asia. It has since bolstered localised services in select countries, such as introducing a digital butler service in Thailand, and partnering with motorbike taxi on-demand app Go-Jek [Indonesian] in Indonesia.