Line shuts down music streaming app MixRadio

Steven Loeb · February 16, 2016 · Short URL:

The streaming space has seen some contraction recently, with even Pandora possibly selling

After aggressive expansion in the music streaming space in the last couple of years, it feels like things are starting to contract a little bit, with companies being shut down, bought or simply not finding an audience. 

MixRadio, a music streaming service owned by Japanese mobile messaging service Line, is being shut down, it was announced on Monday.

After a careful assessment of the subsidiary’s overall performance, the financial challenges posed by the music streaming market, and priorities of LINE Corporation, LINE has determined that future growth would be difficult to ensure and decided to discontinue the MixRadio music streaming service," the company wrote.

"LINE and the MixRadio team would like to thank the users of MixRadio for all of their support of the service."

MixRadio was originally developed by Nokia in 2007, until that company was bought by Microsoft in 2014. Since Microsoft already had Xbox Music, and didn't want a second streaming service, it decided to sell off MixRadio to Line in December 2014.

In August of last year, though, Line debuted another music streaming service, called Line Music, which is available in Thailand and Japan. 

Again, MixRadio found itself to be the redheaded stepchild to another music streaming service. only this time it isn't getting another chance. While no timetable for the closing down of MixRadio was given, though it will be "discontinued in the coming weeks."

Changes in the musis streaming space

As streaming has risen, and digital sales have fallen, it seemed like every single company out there wanted in. Google debuted two of them, while Apple debuted one and then bought another, which it is folding its previous service into. Spotify and Playstation also created one. That's not to mention all the already existing services out there.

In the last few months, though, it feels like something is shifting, where the space, and the companies in it, are facing greater scrutiny. 

First, there was the non-starter that was Jay-Z's service, Tidal, which seemed to be a signal that there was a limit on what people would pay to stream their music. There was also Deezer's announcement of its IPO late last year, and its subsequent retraction after investors questioned the company's potential growth. Despite all of that, the company did still manage to raise $109 million in January. 

There was Pandora's agreement to acquire several key assets from Rdio for $75 million in cash. That included its technology and intellectual property, as well as many members of Rdio’s team who will be offered roles with Pandora. Rdio had been around since 2010 and raised $125.7 million in funding, but still couldn't make it work.

Now Pandora itself might even be looking to sell itself, according to reports. The problem? The company cannot make a profit, and it's losing users; for 2015, Pandora'a active listeners were 81.1 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2015, compared to 81.5 million for the same period of the prior year, a loss of 400,000.

When even the biggest streaming service is struggling to get by, that's a good indication that this is a tough space to make work.

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