Market Insight

7digital partners with Samsung, Toshiba and O2; expands 'cloud' services


7digital has announced a partnership with Samsung to deliver the native music service to the CE manufacturer's Samsung's Galaxy Tablet. The device runs on Android 2.2 and is one of many devices currently launching aiming to challenge Apple's dominance in the revitalised tablet category. The service will be pre-installed on the device in 30 European countries and North America, with the partnership to extend to Samsung's portfolio of devices, such as PCs, phones, TVs and other connected devices.

7digital's download store will also be embedded in Toshiba's new Folio 100 tablet, which also runs Android 2.2. The launch of Android and iOS apps was also announced; the Android app is already available in the Android market, while the iOS app, for the iPhone, iPod and iPad, is awaiting approval from Apple. The Android and iOS applications will be able to sync music wirelessly from PC to handset - a feature still lacking from the native iOS music service.

7digital has also announced multi-platform partnership with O2 in the UK, although no further details of this deal were released.

Concurrently with new partnership announcements, 7digital has unveiled a number of new remote storage and streaming ("cloud") service features. The company is launching a new mobile-optimized web store which is OS agnostic. The mobile site is forward HTML5-compatible, to support the iPad, and will allow in-browser preview of music clips. The new store will be available in all 32 markets where 7digital operates.

The company also upgraded its digital locker service: the browser based 7digital Player was moved out of beta, where it has been for a number of months. The Player allows users to instantly stream music they have purchased from 7digital (stored in their 7digital locker). The browser-based application was built using HTML5 and JavaScript and is thus compatible with browsers across Windows, Linux, OSX and iOS platforms.

 

7digital is one of the largest digital music services, by territories covered, being available in 32 countries. In comparison, iTunes is available in 23 territories globally. The size of 7digital's catalogue (currently over 11m tracks, including multi-territorial deals with all four Major labels), territorial reach and open APIs make 7digital a particularly appealing partner for CE manufacturers and were key to the Samsung and Toshiba partnerships. The company has been working with RIM, offering music purchases via a BlackBerry app, since October 2009 (7digital claims the app has been installed on 500,000 Blackberry devices to date).

 

With the Android app scalable for tablets running Android, 7digital is positioning itself to benefit from the expected growth in tablets. The company has a stable market position in the UK, being consistently ranked in the UK's leading three online music stores, rare for a standalone service. The increasing number of device tie-ins will only strengthen the company's position and has the potential improve its standing in markets outside the UK. The pre-installed application will eliminate barriers to entry, thus further increasing the potential uptake (Blackberry users have to download the app themselves), while the expansion of the digital locker features rounds up this multi-platform service proposition.