Muve Music, the music subscription of Cricket Wireless with 600,000 subscribers across the U.S., has added the catalogs of TuneCore, the Orchard and CD Baby. The deals will more than double Muve Music's catalog to over 10 million tracks, head of product John Bolton tells Billboard.biz.
The addition of independent and unsigned artists helps in a couple ways, says Bolton. First, Muve Music's own customers have been asking for a way to get their songs on the service. "We really haven't had an answer. Telling them to call Universal Music is not a possibility for them."
In addition, the additional catalog, which will be ingested throughout the year, allows Muve Music to offer more local music desired in its most active markets. "In South Texas, for example, there's huge Regional Mexican consumption - from Phoenix to Laredo up to San Antonio our usage is extraordinary and really unlike anything else from other music services because we have such a large Hispanic user base," Bolton says. "The major labels do pretty good with some of that content, but these independent labels are definitely bringing a layer of Latin and Hispanic music that they majors don't have."
The additional content will help Muve Music become more focused and feature music that customers wouldn't see featured at other music services, says Bolton. The Muve Music storefront will feature some of these new releases. "That is our primary place to promote new artists. We will bring these independent and lesser-known artists up to the surface because of the unique consumption of our customer base [that is] very hip hop and Latin."
Muve Music was launched in January 2011 by prepaid mobile carrier Cricket Wireless and is offered as a single-price bundle with unlimited voice, text and Web access. Plans cost either $55 or $65 per month depending on the smartphone. The service has had the catalogs of all four major labels since its debut.
The company says the service now has 600,000 subscribers. Muve Music had reached 500,000 subscribers in January, putting it second only to the ten-year-old Rhapsody in terms of U.S. subscribers.
Expect more growth in subscribers. The music service is part of Cricket's advertising campaigns. It has featured artist campaigns that offer exclusive content by artists such as B.o.B and DEV. And in April Cricket expanded its retail footprint by reaching 1,600 Target stores nationwide.