Samsung: Platform Blues

Samsung is creating a new, unique music platform for their devices.

(from Billboard Magazine, February 9, 2013) Samsung executives made a notable presentation at the MIDEM 2013 conference this year. Samsung is in the process of transitioning from a hardware company to a content firm, specifically in the music area. Many tech brands have focused their efforts towards having the success that Apple and iTunes has had, but few have prevailed.

Samsung had a huge payoff after spending more than $500 million on a marketing campaign for its Galaxy products, which helped executives realize the importance of making music a main focal point of the device user’s experience. Samsung’s new music service, mSpot, signified the beginning of Samsung’s efforts to begin building their own unique platform.

Samsung Senior Vice President of Media Solutions, TJ Kang, explained the importance of Samsung creating its own platform, “If you just have hardware without the service behind it, it is really hard to differentiate your product from the competition.” The first version of the Galaxy S used third party services to supply music needs to users, and it created a negative experience and frustration among them.

Building your own music/media platform does not, however, guarantee success. Although Apple was able to thrive with their integrated systems, companies such as Sony and Nokia have their own platforms but continue to struggle with getting each of the parts to work together in harmony.

Samsung is, however, becoming a worthy rival. In the third quarter of 2012, Samsung sold 56 million smartphones, while Apple only sold 47.6 million.

Since its initial launch, Samsung’s mSpot has had several revisions, including a downsize from nine home features to just three. Kang said that he wants Samsung Music to be a big part of the company’s marketing, “We want music to be one of the deciding factors in purchasing another device in the future.”

Currently, Samsung Music is available on the Galaxy S and the Samsung Note II, but this number is scheduled to increase as the products become available in other regions and for other Samsung devices.