Guvera, an Australia-based music streaming service that's fallen behind its competitors, has considerably expanded its presence in Asia.
According to a report at The Next Web, Guvera has expanded to Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore. Until it launched in Indonesia in February, Guvera was available in Australia and the United States.
Nearly forgotten in the United States, Guvera launched in 2010 as an advertising-supported MP3 download site. Now the site follows the typical model of a music subscription service in 2004: a playlist-driven streaming site that offers both free, ad-supported streaming and, for its paying customers, ad-free listening and caching for offline listening.
Music streaming is an unforgiving market without space for everybody. The space is filled with well-funded and big brands likely to expand into Western countries, namely Apple's Beats Music and iTunes Radio, Google's Play All Access, Songza, and Amazon Music Prime. There are a limited number of mobile carriers available for partnerships in a given country. And the financial requirements of streaming music mean services need to look beyond their original borders for growth.
Asia provides new opportunities. Guvera is not the first streaming service in the four markets. Either Spotify or Deezer, and sometimes both, are already there. But these markets are less crowded than typical Western markets. A dozen or more subscription-based music streaming services are available in both Australia and the United States.
A recent poll of 700 smartphone users in India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam revealed markets ripe for music streaming services. The majority of people use their devices for music listening and many use music streaming apps.
But outsiders like Guvera may have difficulty making inroads in Asia as consumers often prefer local streaming services, and their emphasis on local repertoire, to international services. In terms of preference, SoundCloud and Spotify rank below Songs PK and Saavn in India, Spinnr in the Philippines, and Zing MP and Vietnam Radio in Vietnam. An exception can be found in Indonesia, where Soundcloud tops homegrown service MelOn.
Guvera could have other problems, too. An article by the Sydney Morning Herald claims Guvera lost $7.2 million AUD on revenues of only $149,000 AUD in its 2012/2013 fiscal year. It also noted the company's plan to raise $8.8 million AUD from an equity sale was stopped by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
But the company is moving onward. In March, Guvera signed a worldwide partnership deal with Lenovo that will pre-install the Guvera app on Lenovo mobile devices. Last month, Guvera announced a partnership with 7digital that's supposed to help it launch in Indian and the Middle East. 7digital provides the cloud-based streaming solution for services by Samsung, BlackBerry and others.