Market Watch

Google Acquires PushLife Mobile Music Service

April 14, 2011

Jack Kent Jack Kent Director, Operators & Mobile Media
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Google has acquired Canadian mobile music company Pushlife for an undisclosed amount.

Pushlife's mobile music service enables users to purchase and sync music on their handsets with their PC-based music libraries (supporting Windows Media Player and iTunes).  The service also allows users to share playlists via Facebook and Twitter and is compatible with BlackBerry, Nokia Series 40 and Series 60 and Android devices. It currently powers UK cable operator Virgin Media's Music Sync Android application.

Google has long been expected to launch a mobile music service. In Q2 2010, it acquired a company similar to Pushlife, Simplify Media - a company that allows users to share iTunes music across all platforms .

The deal is the latest in Google's prolific streak of mobile related investments and acquisitions; IHS Screen Digest Mobile Media Intelligence tracked 19 mobile related acquisitions made by Google in 2010, up from four in 2009. It has already made six mobile-related acquisitions in 2011.

IHS Screen Digest Mobile Media Intelligence expects Google's Android mobile operating system (OS) to take the lead in 2011 and account for 29.4% of smartphone shipments. However, in terms of users' experience of accessing and consuming rich media content including music, Android devices often lag behind competition from Apple's iPhone/iOS devices. Google does not yet have a media ecosystem that can compete with Apple's iTunes. IHS Screen Digest expects Google to launch its own media service as part of, or alongside, its Android Market mobile applications store. Any new service could also be tied in to Google's existing YouTube and Google TV efforts where it has been trying to increase its rich media content aggregation efforts (focusing on TV and movie content).

Any potential new music service from Google may well feature a streaming or on-demand element. On-demand music services, which offer mobile access to premium subscribers, have surged in popularity in recent months. Spotify, at the time of writing only available in Finland, France, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK, now counts more than 1m paid subscribers since its launch in 2008 and French service Deezer (launched in 2007) reports more than 800,000 paid subscribers.

US on-demand and online music subscription services have also been growing in popularity. In January 2011, Rhapsody reported 750,000 paying subscribers. Sirius XM Radio achieved more than 20m paying radio subscribers by December 2010. Internet radio service Pandora has not reported its number of paid subscribers, but it had more than 65m registered and 25m active users by Q4 2010.

Find Out More > IHS Screen Digest Mobile Media Intelligence

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