Yonder music is a new service that aims to give its users pay-wall free access to millions of songs to download and play, commercial-free, replacing traditional paid download, streaming, and Internet radio services. Say what? Yes people, free access to stream and download songs!
Now the question is, how will they do this? Yonder is currently in Beta, and the way they’re making this work is by selling unlocked smartphones which are “Yonder enabled.” At the time of this writing, they only have the HTC One M7 and HTC One M8 available. This is a pretty interesting idea, paying for the phone all up front with the music service included. If you think about it, many people pay Spotify, Beats and Google Play Music at least $9 a month for their service, in two years that amounts to over $200. This idea just might be worth changing up how you buy phones. Of course everyone’s situation and the factors that affect a decision like that may be different, but it’s a concept that’s well worth checking out.
Read the whole press release below and let us know what you think in the comments section a little further down or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook. Also, our social links are now to the left of your screen!
NEW YORK, May 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Yonder Music, Inc. announces the commercial-beta launch of its Android-exclusive digital music service. Yonder provides users with pay-wall free access to millions of songs to download, and play, commercial-free, replacing traditional paid download, streaming, and Internet radio services. Yonder is a transformative solution that targets the 99% of consumers that don’t currently pay for a music subscription service, increasing the size of the digital music market, while paying content owners in proportion to their content plays.
Yonder goes to market with a complete catalog of music from major labels, including Universal Music Group, Sony Music, and Warner Music Group, in addition to a fast developing selection of independent artists, and labels. Yonder combines essential features of Internet radio services such as Pandora, with those of streaming services Beats Music and Spotify, while leveraging patent-pending social discovery tools, to automatically build and download a “Magic Library™.”
“Thus far, music streaming services have only addressed the 1% of global mobile users that have indicated some sort of willingness to pay for music. Yonder addresses the 99% by bundling the music service with the smartphone or the network data plan and providing a free to the user experience above all expectations”–Adam Kidron, Founder and CEO Yonder Music Inc.
Device makers, retailers, and other commercial partners seeking to increase revenue, improve customer loyalty, increase new customer acquisition, and to otherwise differentiate their products, are able to partner with Yonder, to pre-install the service onto smartphones. Thus, partners may deliver unlimited music to their customers, in which the cost is included in the price of the device or service plan.
During the commercial-beta, Yonder is targeting consumers in the market for high-quality, smart mobile devices, such as the HTC One. These users will serve as an informed, committed, test population, and will power Yonder’s unique social discovery algorithms.
Yonder’s platform was built with the user in mind – so much so, that the discovery algorithms are powered by user activity. The more that users engage with the platform by creating and subscribing to playlists, the more intelligent and robust the platform becomes. User activity also feeds Yonder’s social algorithms that power Yonder’s unique feature set, which includes:
- Continuous Play: When a song, album or playlist ends, Yonder delivers a related playlist so the music never stops playing.
- Song Stream: An auto-curated, real-time feed of songs, currently being played by Yonder users, who share similar song preferences with a user.
- “Deep Yonder™”: An enhanced search tool that magnifies the discovery of related content.
- Magic Library™: An auto-curation tool that progressively downloads a user’s selections and related songs to the device, auto-building a well-curated library. Subsequent plays of every saved track are delivered locally, thereby minimizing demand on bandwidth.
For more information or to purchase a Yonder enabled device visit www.yondermusic.com
Blog post by Ben Sisario
To many in the music industry, Apple’s pending $3.2 billion deal for Beats Electronics, which emerged last week, suggested a watershed moment for streaming music by subscription. Once a marginal model, it is now being trumpeted as the future of consumption by Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio and Beats’ own service, Beats Music.
But music by subscription also has doubters. Among them is Yonder, asmall service opening this week with a very different model: selling specially licensed smartphones that allow users unlimited free downloads. Under this plan — sometimes called hard bundling — the cost of the music is hidden in the price of the phone.
Adam Kidron, chief executive of Yonder, said this has much greater potential than streaming by subscription, which despite becoming more prominent has remained a small part of the business. Last year such plans, which typically charge about $10 a month, attracted about six million customers in the United States.
“What we’re saying,” Mr. Kidron said in an interview, “is that we need a model that attracts the other 98 percent of people who are not paying.”
The hard-bundled model, however, has a checkered history. In 2008, Nokia’s Comes With Music offered free music downloads with certain phones, but the plan drew few customers and was withdrawn in most countries.
Blue-chip investors like News Corporation and Allen & Company later backed a similar effort by Mr. Kidron’s previous company, Beyond Oblivion. Yet the company fell apart in late 2011 before ever reaching the public, sinking $34 million in investment and becoming one of the most spectacular failures in digital music.
Now “humbled,” Mr. Kidron said Yonder is setting out with more modest plans, including raising less than 10 percent of the size of Beyond Oblivion’s investment. While that company employed about 70 engineers, for example, much of the work to build Yonder, which is made for Android devices, was farmed out. Seed money came from Cliff Burnstein, a powerful music manager whose company, Q Prime, works with superstar acts like Metallica and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
In a further challenge to Yonder, a deal between Apple and Beats could mean a major marketing lift for subscription. Google has already entered the market with its own service, and Amazon is said to be trying to negotiate streaming licenses with record companies.
To prove its model, Yonder will try to sell just 10,000 devices containing its service, including unlocked models of HTC’s One phone, the M7 ($479) and M8 ($679). If the plan succeeds, the company hopes to make large-scale deals with manufacturers for phones around the world carrying licenses granted by music companies.
Yonder’s profit would come from a share of those music licenses, which Mr. Kidron said range from as low as $15 in poor countries to $80 in the richest markets.
As a way to link music to other kinds of expenses that people pay automatically, like phone service, bundling has wide support in the music industry. AT&T sells subscriptions to Beats Music, and last month Sprint announced a similar deal with Spotify. Muve Music, a download plan whose price is included in plans offered by Cricket Wireless, a prepaid wireless service, has attracted more than two million subscribers. AT&T, which bought Cricket’s parent company, Leap Wireless, is said to be looking for buyers to unload Muve.
Many analysts consider such collaborations with telecommunications companies essential to make any music plan viable on a broad scale.
“For this model to work, it really has to have a telco and a device manufacturer working in tandem,” said Mark Mulligan, a music technology analyst and consultant.