Billboard Latin Music Conference Panel: How, and Why, Muve’s Moves Have Made it No. 1

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(from Billboard.biz, April 23 2013) At the Billboard Latin Music Conference, a panel took place titled, “Case Study: The Cricket/Muve Solution: How the music offering of a prepaid wireless service provides a blueprint to successfully reach the Latin consumer,” which included speakers Skander Goucha, SVP Digital for UMLA, and Jeffrey Toig, SVP of Muve Music.

Popular music streaming services like Rhapsody, Spotify, and Rdio get frequent press, but they only serve a small segment to the music-loving public. Jeffery Toig was caught by surprise when only a few hands in the audience responded to being familiar with Muve, which is the largest on-demand music service in the United States with about 1.5 million paid subscribers.

Toig explained that Muve targets a dramatically more populist audience, while other streaming services target high-end users who live highly computer-centric lives. In fact, Muve is only offered through mobile devices and, for now, only through the carrier Cricket in the U.S. Cricket’s users focus on low-cost, pre-paid plans that can be purchased without credit cards. Nearly 60% of Cricket’s market is Hispanic or African-American, with 80% of those accumulating a household income of $50,000 a year or less. Toig explains the reasoning for this, “Music is up there with family and friends as among the most important thing in their lives. The challenge is, their life isn’t built around the computer, and they’re usually not using a credit card as their main form of payment.”

Cricket customers pay a flat monthly fee for unlimited nationwide talk, text, web, and unlimited music through the built-in Muve platform, which includes streaming, single-song downloads, ringtones, and ring-back tones. So far, the platform seems to be working well, especially in the Latin music segment. Skander Goucha said Muve is now the number-two digital partner for Universal’s various labels. Soon, Muve will expand into Brazil through the carrier TIMBrazil, offering smaller music streaming options, like one day of service for the equivalent amount of $0.25.