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POWER MOVE: After wireless carrier Cricket added music subscription service Muve to all new Android plans in August, the sign-up rate increased to 50% of new customers.
THE RUNDOWN: Jeff Toig is in charge of the most important song service you may never have heard of: Muve Music. Launched by pay-as-you-go wireless carrier Cricket in January 2010, Muve has quietly amassed 1.1 million U.S. subscribers in just two years.
Unlike stand-alone on-demand subscription services that charge $10 a month for unlimited access to music on mobile phones, Muve comes free with unlimited talk, text and Web plans on new Android phones. Actually, the service only feels “free” to consumers because it’s already part of the pricing of the cellphone’s other services.
Toig has effectively killed two birds with one stone: He’s found a way to improve Cricket’s average revenue per user (customers seem willing to trade up to the higher-priced plans that include “free” music) while generating revenue for an industry in dire need of successful new business models. Since its launch, both labels and distributors have been pleased with the service’s success.
According to Toig, who previously served as Cricket’s VP of product management, the company’s research shows Muve customers aren’t buying other music or signing up with outside services. “We’re bringing customers into a legal digital music relationship in a completely new way,” he says.
About one in five Cricket customers is a Muve subscriber. That ratio has been growing since Cricket added Muve to all new Android plans last August. According to Toig, half of new Cricket customers now sign up for a plan that includes Muve.