Startup raises $77M for music plan tied to devices

AP News
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Posted: Mar 08, 2011 7:47 PM
Startup raises $77M for music plan tied to devices

New York-based music startup Beyond Oblivion said Tuesday that it has secured $77 million in new capital from investors including News Corp. and the British charitable organization Wellcome Trust.

The money is meant to help the company launch a service later this year that will bundle an unlimited music plan into the price of a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablet computers and cars. The company aims to launch its service in India and Malaysia in August and in the United States later this year.

The company is attempting to pick up where Nokia Corp.'s device-based music plan called Comes With Music failed. Nokia launched an unlimited download music plan in October 2008 in the U.K. on a particular model of cell phone. The service spread to 33 countries but was shut down in the vast majority of them earlier this year.

Chief Financial Officer Jim Heindlmeyer said Beyond Oblivion is in advanced talks with the four major recording companies about its service.

Royalties will be paid to the record labels every time a song is played. Songs are downloaded and can only be played or shared on licensed devices.

Revenue comes from the initial purchase of the device, but whether that fee will result in a noticeably higher price to the consumer will depend on the retailer, he said.

"Really, what Beyond is looking to do is to capture revenues from some portion of the 95 percent of people who don't pay for music right now," Heindlmeyer said.

The service won't be limited to just one type of device, manufacturer or company, said Heindlmeyer, who suggested that was a failing of Nokia's Comes With Music.