Smart signs up foreign partner as online music war with Globe heats up

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By Tom Noda

The streaming music arena has become the new battleground for fierce rivals Smart Communications and Globe Telecom, with the PLDT-owned mobile operator formally announcing its tie-up with Deezer global music streaming service, a rival of Globe’s Spotify.

Photo shows (from left) Steven Frank, Deezer business development manager for Asia Pacific; Dona Inthaxoum, Deezer label relations head for Asia and Oceania; Melissa Limcaoco, innovation and product development group head at Smart Communications; and Kathryn Carag, postpaid marketing head at Smart
Photo shows (from left) Steven Frank, Deezer business development manager for Asia Pacific; Dona Inthaxoum, Deezer label relations head for Asia and Oceania; Melissa Limcaoco, innovation and product development group head at Smart Communications; and Kathryn Carag, postpaid marketing head at Smart

At a launch event on Wednesday, July 9, at the F1 Hotel in Bonifacio Global City, Smart bared the latest expansion of its music streaming business with the introduction of premium bundles for Deezer.

Like Spotify, the Deezer app allows free access to over 30 million songs that can also be played or downloaded offline by availing of the premium or paid service.

Both Deezer and Spotify apps can be installed on iOS, Android, Windows Phone as well as Blackberry 10 smartphones and tablets, including traditional desktop browsers in laptops and PCs.

Kathryn Carag, postpaid marketing head at Smart, introduced the company’s Unlisurf Premium Plans that bundles the latest high-end smartphones with a free Deezer Premium+ subscription for two years, unlimited surfing with access to LTE, plus free calls and texts to all networks.

Among the current smartphone choices under Smart’s Unlisurf Premium Plans are Sony Xperia M, Nokia Lumia 1020, Sony Xperia Z2, and the Samsung Galaxy S5.

Deezer’s business development manager in Asia Pacific Steven Frank said the online music service is now active in over 182 countries, with 16 million active users, of which five million are paid subscribers.

Spotify, meanwhile, is present in about 56 markets globally with over 24 million active users and over six million paying subscribers.

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With the Deezer premium bundle, Smart executives expressed confidence in strengthening the telco’s foothold in the music space as it eyes to capture majority of the music listening market in the Philippines.

Among the two carriers, Smart was the first to venture into the music streaming business when it launched in October 2013 a homegrown Filipino music portal and mobile streaming service Spinnr.

According to Smart?s head of innovation and product development Mellissa Limcaoco, the partnership with Deezer has broaden Smart’s portfolio even further.

“This strengthens Smart?s expanding suite of mobile content and application offerings that makes us a formidable player in the entire mobile ecosystem,” Limcaoco said.

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