Nokia recently launched its MixRadio music streaming service in China as the first international music streaming service to launch there. We got the chance to speak to Nokia’s Vice President of Entertainment, Jyrki Rosenberg, about the launch and key aspects related to the music streaming service.
Nokia MixRadio is currently available in 31 countries. Along with launching the music streaming service in China, does Nokia have any plans of expanding MixRadio into additional countries any time soon?
Rosenberg: Regarding the last year, it’s been launched in several countries. As mentioned, we have just launched it in China, but before that, we had rolled out in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, so it’s a strong expansion in the South East and Pacific. Although, we have a practice of not disclosing which countries before we announce them so I can’t comment on future plans, but from past experience you can see we’ve had a very strong global expansion.
Nokia changed the title of the music service from Nokia Music to Nokia MixRadio. What was the reason behind making that change?
Rosenberg: We had MixRadio as a feature of the service already before, but with this brand alignment, we wanted to underline the key differentiation of our service and really, what I would call the next phase in digital music which is moving from an item download to an on-demand service that still has a lot of technology in it but is a pure listening service. It much more resembles a traditional radio except it’s completely personalized.
Since Microsoft acquired Nokia, how do you think this recent acquisition affects the future of MixRadio?
Rosenberg: I think it gives us further opportunities. We have been collaborating with the Microsoft team as well as with the Music team for the last 2 years and this will just enable us to work even closer both with their entertainment division as well as all of Microsoft.
Many believe that the growth of MixRadio is largely reliant on the sale of Nokia smartphones. Do you believe this makes up the bulk of the music streaming service’s success? Had it not been available for non-users of the Nokia Lumia, do you think the service would have been any less successful than it is now?
Rosenberg: I think should it be more available, it would have more fans and a wider audience. Right now, we have exclusively offered the free offering only on Nokia devices, on the Lumia range and also on the Nokia X and Asha devices. If you pay the 3.99 Euros a month (the price varies between markets), then you can use it on any device. So the free offering is exclusively for Nokia devices and the premium of 3.99 Euros a month is available on any device.
It’s no secret Nokia has been focusing most of its software development on Windows Phone 8, until the recent release of those 3 Android devices. How difficult was it to integrate MixRadio into the Nokia X and its sibling devices?
Rosenberg: It’s been easy for us. We’ve obviously worked closely with the mobile phone team, with the Nokia X as well as with the Lumia range and the Windows platform, both of them have been great experiences for us so it’s really the simplicity of the user interface that makes it smooth for us to develop and for consumers to enjoy it.
Do you think the personalized feature of MixRadio is what makes it stand out most among its competition, or are there any other crucial elements that differentiate it from its counterparts?
Rosenberg: I think it’s the combination of the personalization and simplicity. So really the point that you get to your own personal radio station with a single touch of a button. No other service has it. It’s easy to make something simple and it’s possible to do something personalized, but to make something so personal and so simple to use, I think that’s where the trick is. That’s the unique feature of it.
In regards to future plans about Nokia MixRadio’s upcoming ventures, including whether or not the streaming service will make its way to iOS anytime soon, Jyrki ascertained that it’s part of Nokia’s policy to abstain from discussing announcements that have not been released yet. So stay tuned to t3me.com for additional updates relevant to this interview and for the latest Nokia news.