Thumbplay News

NEW YORK – 26 APRIL 2010 – Thumbplay® MusicTM, which launched its cloud-based music service in January 2010 at CES as a featured partner of RIM®, was also the first to launch in the U.S. with such features as offline playback. Thumbplay Music is currently featured on numerous BlackBerry® smartphones; BlackBerry is the definitive U.S. smartphone leader with more than 42% marketshare.* Thumbplay Music is also available as a companion app on PCs/Macs® and it is coming soon on AndroidTM and iPhone®.

Since launch, Thumbplay Music reports that such features as offline playback (also known as caching), and Playlist Genie, its music discovery tool, have been among the most-used features of the service.

Thumbplay Music includes its own in-app media player and boasts several compelling features, including:

Unlimited, on-demand access to any artist or album; millions of songs to choose from
Build a personal music collection with Favorites and effortless Playlist creation; auto-sync between smartphone and PC/Mac
Online and offline access: No connection? No problem! Listen to music on the subway or in-flight. Available anytime, anywhere.
Playlist Genie for music discovery: Instantly generate customized recommendations from favorite songs
Search: Find music by artist, song, album or genre; includes free previews of all songs
Import existing iTunes® playlists within Thumbplay Music’s companion desktop app. With a few clicks, recreate iTunes playlists and have them available on smartphone and PC/Mac.
Free, “no strings attached” three-day trial

Thumbplay Music has more than eight million tracks under license from all major labels and more than 25,000 independent labels. Thumbplay Music is a next generation music service, built by experts in mobile content delivery to serve the rapidly growing market of U.S. smartphone users which is forecasted to grow to 160 million people by 2013.**

Thumbplay, which enjoys sustained profitability, has built an award-winning service centered on delivering millions of pieces of mobile content to 95 percent of U.S. devices among every major carrier. Thumbplay is leveraging its existing network of more than 8,000 distribution partners to promote Thumbplay Music.

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Thumbplay, Inc. is defining the mobile entertainment experience for U.S. consumers. features licensed music, video and games from some of the world’s largest entertainment companies, including: EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, as well as several independent labels and artists and video game companies. Headquartered in New York City, Thumbplay was founded in September 2004 by Are Traasdahl and Evan Schwartz. Investors include Bain Capital Ventures, SoftBank Capital, i-Hatch Ventures, Redwood Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Meritech, Brookside Capital Partners and Cross Creek Capital. More information can be found at or at from a mobile phone.

*According to comScore (April 2010)

Thumbplay Music is currently available on the following BlackBerry® smartphones: BlackBerry® Bold 9000, BlackBerry® Bold™ 9700, BlackBerry® Curve™ 8520, BlackBerry® Curve™ 8530, BlackBerry® Curve™ 8900, BlackBerry® Tour™ 9630, BlackBerry® Storm™ 9530 and the BlackBerry® Storm™ 2 9550.

**Yankee Group (2009)

All trademarks property of their respective owners. No partnerships implied. The BlackBerry and RIM families of related marks, images and symbols are the exclusive properties and trademarks of Research In Motion Limited.



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

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The Associated Press

(AP) — LOS ANGELES - There's no more need to own songs before being able to listen to them at your convenience.

No more stacking your CDs on shelves or buying music to download onto computers and mobile devices. Virtually the whole world of recorded music is at your fingertips at any time, for a subscription, over the Internet.

Services that make this scenario possible haven't proven very popular yet. But now price cuts and advances in technology could finally drive the idea to the mainstream.

For instance, Rhapsody International Inc. and Thumbplay Inc. now offer the ability to pick almost any song or album and play it instantly on a mobile device that connects to the Internet over cell phone networks. The services are $10 a month.

Justin Darcy, a 32-year-old sales director at a resort company in San Francisco, says he consumes so much music it would cost him $10,000 a year if he didn't have a Rhapsody plan. He calls it "one of the greatest values in consumer goods I've ever come across."

Given the obvious benefit of being able to listen to millions of songs as if they were in your personal stash, why haven't services like these gotten more use?

Partly because of poor marketing, previously clunky execution and the fact that people are more familiar with compact discs and downloading songs from Apple Inc.'s iTunes music store. People who spend less than $120 a year on music also wouldn't see the subscription plans as such a great deal.

But the music providers hope they can get more customers by making the services easier to use, taking advantage of increasingly robust cell phone networks to deliver the music. And in general, consumers are getting more comfortable using many kinds of services that rely on files stored on distant computers and accessed remotely, a concept known as "cloud computing."

The subscription services have come down in price-they generally were $15 a month until recently-and broader adoption could push prices lower still. One big boost could come if Apple begins offering such a service. In December it bought an online music retailer called that offers access to songs that users can store in a digital locker. Apple declined to comment on its plans.

The subscription services funnel royalties to recording companies, which are eager for new revenue streams to replace CD sales. That once-lucrative business has been declining for years as consumers have shifted to buying individual tracks or pirating music altogether.

"We are very bullish on the prospects of subscriptions over time," says Michael Nash, executive vice president of digital strategy for Warner Music Group Corp.

One problem is finding the right price for the service and having as many people as possible sign up. If only hard-core music fans subscribe because it lets them reduce their spending, the music industry might end up cannibalizing its other sales.

Right now the median U.S. music buyer spends about $80 a year-not enough to make these new services a revolutionary deal, according to Sonal Gandhi, a Forrester Research media analyst. More than half of consumers don't spend anything at all.

She predicts the number of U.S. subscribers for such plans will rise from 2.1 million now to 5 million by 2014. Why not more? Among other things, "not everyone wants to be tied to a monthly bill," she says. One solution could be for wireless carriers to bundle a music subscription with their monthly services. Nearly 450,000 Vodafone customers in Europe signed up for unlimited access to 2 million songs last year when the plan was added to a wireless data package for 3 euros ($4) a month.

Previous music subscription plans had another problem: They made consumers download songs to their computers and transfer them to approved mobile devices-and none included the iPhone or iPod.

That's changing. A $10 monthly plan from MOG Inc. will let people stream music instantly on iPhones and devices that run Google Inc.'s Android software, beginning in May.

Users can make unlimited downloads to the device so they have access to music on a plane or in other settings without wireless coverage. MOG's service also has an intelligent shuffle function that lets people control whether randomly selected songs come from just one artist or many similar sounding ones.

MOG's CEO and founder, David Hyman, predicts such services will prove so popular that they'll replace CDs and downloads eventually.

"If you're the kind of consumer that spends $6 to $10 a month on music, this just blows everything else away," Hyman says.

Another new service, Thumbplay, works on several BlackBerry models, and there are plans to launch it on Android devices and iPhones soon, also for $10 a month. To ease iTunes users into the service, the application can copy iTunes playlists immediately over the air, saving potential converts the trouble of remaking them.

"The first thing that we want to do is just accept that probably 100 million people out there are using iTunes and make it easy for them to make the transition," says CEO Evan Schwartz.

Each of these services has a huge catalog that includes songs from all the major recording companies and many independents. MOG has 7 million tracks. Thumbplay boasts 8 million and Rhapsody claims 9.5 million. None, however, has access to bands that have chosen to remain away from digital outlets, such as the Beatles.

There are other ways to listen to music from the cloud, of course. But subscription plans are needed if you want to pick exact songs or albums.

For instance, free services like Pandora's Internet radio allow you to select tunes by genre or theme and hear them on portable devices, but you can't choose the precise song or artist you want. Online music services such as MySpace Music allow you to select specific songs or albums-for free, with the site supported by advertising-but you can listen to the tracks only on a computer.

No distributor has been able to combine the elements of Pandora and MySpace Music and launch a free, on-demand, mobile music service. Advertisers aren't yet willing to pay enough to cover the higher royalties that recording companies charge for mobile song streams.

That leaves many people in the music business hoping that the marriage of subscription plans to better mobility will be the spark that helps reverse the industry's decline.

"The Holy Grail is going to be cross-platform, meaning that one subscription lets me hear it on my connected device, on my home computer, on my stereo, in my car," says Donald Passman, a music business lawyer in Los Angeles and author of "All You Need to Know About the Music Business."

That multi-device capability was the appeal Rhapsody's service held for Alex Barberis, a 27-year-old software engineer in Miami.

Barberis got a Rhapsody subscription as a Christmas present from his brother, but he was about to cancel the plan because the Web site was slow and he didn't have an approved device on which to transfer downloads. However, Barberis changed his mind after Rhapsody released an iPhone application that allows unlimited streaming of 9.5 million songs for $9.99 a month on iPhones and Android devices and works with home stereo systems and in cars.

Barberis says the service isn't perfect. It hiccups if he loses cell phone reception in his car. But Rhapsody says it will fix that problem soon by allowing songs to be stored on devices for playback outside of cell phone coverage.

"I think overall I'm probably going to try it out for a little while more," Barberis says.



Carr Driving Subscriber Growth, Includes New Thumbplay Music Service

NEW YORK –April 5, 2010–Thumbplay, the leading mobile entertainment company in the U.S., has promoted Jeff Carr to Executive Vice President, Marketing. Carr joined Thumbplay in 2007, most recently serving as Senior Vice President. He has oversight of all marketing initiatives and reports directly to Evan Schwartz, CEO and Co-Founder.

Carr drives the company’s subscriber growth, including that of the recently launched Thumbplay Music ( Thumbplay Music is an unlimited, on-demand, cloud-based music service available for smartphones and PCs/Macs. Carr also oversees relationships with Thumbplay’s carrier partners.

“Jeff is without equal when it comes to developing new member acquisition and retention strategies,” said Schwartz. “He is creative, diligent and has an exceptional understanding of how to match customers with the services and products they want. His experience and talents make him perfectly suited to lead our integrated marketing efforts and to further the deep, collaborative relationships we have with our partners, particularly as we roll out the Thumbplay Music service. This promotion was much-deserved.”

With more than 12 years in entertainment, direct marketing and social media, Carr is an expert in mobile advertising, online marketing and community development. In the last eight years alone, he has been responsible for the acquisition of more than 10 million online subscribers. Prior to joining Thumbplay, Carr was Vice President of Marketing for Community Connect, a niche community social networking platform. Before that, he was the Senior Director of Online Marketing at Columbia House, where he helped transition the company into an online business. He began his career developing retention programs for CDNOW, one of the first online music retailers. Carr earned a B.A. from The George Washington University.


Thumbplay, Inc. is defining the mobile entertainment experience for U.S. consumers. features licensed music, video and games from some of the world’s largest entertainment companies, including: EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, as well as several independent labels and artists and video game companies. Headquartered in New York City, Thumbplay was founded in September 2004 by Are Traasdahl and Evan Schwartz. Investors include Bain Capital Ventures, SoftBank Capital, i-Hatch Ventures, Redwood Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Meritech, Brookside Capital Partners and Cross Creek Capital. More information can be found at or at from a mobile phone.

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NY Times/GigaOM (Paul Bonanos) 3/4/10

“The company’s deep mobile experience is one key differentiator that sets it apart.”

“…given its large installed base and understanding of mobile behavior, don’t count Thumbplay out.”

GigaOM (Paul Bonanos) 3/17/10

“Existing mobile business, install base provide unique advantages.”

Time Magazine’s Techland (Peter Ha) 2/23/10

“I was pleasantly surprised. Primarily because the app syncs with the desktop portal and caches your playlists so you can still listen to them even when your device isn't connected. Neat, right? It is. Trust me.”

Wall Street Journal’s All Things D (Peter Kafka) 3/1/2010

“The service passes the subway/airplane/”OMG I hate my wireless company” test.”

“The main difference between Thumbplay and everyone else is that it’s kicking off its launch by targeting Research in Motion’s BlackBerry users, who have pretty much been ignored by music services to date.” (Paul Bonanos) 3/17/10

But why is MOG missing the first two Tom Petty albums, while Thumbplay has them all?"

CNET (Matt Rosoff) 3/4/10

“Sound quality was very good, and I didn't notice any audible differences when testing it over AT&T's 3G service versus my home Wi-Fi network”

“I was also impressed with the speed of sync between the desktop and BlackBerry versions of the app. Whenever I created or updated a playlist in one place, it was almost immediately updated in the other. This is one of the greatest benefits of using a cloud-based music service, and it's nice to see it working so well here.”

“There's also a nifty "save offline" feature, which lets you cache playlists on the phone so you can play them when you're away from a wireless connection--great for subway commutes or plane trips.”

Digital Music News (Paul Resnikoff) 3/2/10

“In dead zones, one simple solution is to jump into a cached selection, which Thumbplay Music makes easy. Even auto-playlists can be saved ahead-of-time for later access, and Thumbplay performed quite solidly on a coast-to-coast plane ride.”

Blackberry Insight 1/14/10

“The application truly has the potential to completely revolutionize the experience of listening to music.”

Crenk (Steven Finch) 1/14/10

“The desktop version is currently running on Adobe Air and I must admit it looks very slick!”

BerryReview (Ronen Halevy) 1/14/10

“I got a preview of the upcoming Thumbplay music store that really impressed me. It let you download music OTA to your device with great quality. It worked like a charm on my Bold and let me listen to snippets of each song. It also had great search capabilities like searching by artist or album and drill down options.”

Mobiletor 1/13/10

“Music enthusiasts may be seen pleased as punch on hearing this bit of news.”

“The Thumbplay Music app offers music fiends a quick, intuitive way to build a personal music collection that automatically synchronizes between smartphones and the desktop app.”

Crackberry (Kevin Michaluk) 1/11/10

Looks like a pretty compelling offer for music lovers.”

“One of the most complete in terms of what you get - basically every song you can possibly want to listen to, on demand.”

MobileApptitude (Will Easton) 9/25/09

“So far, I’m pretty impressed.”

I4U (Robert Evans) 9/2/09

“If you're using a BlackBerry or an Android phone and want a place to fill your hard drive up with tunes at a fair price, Thumbplay offers an excellent service.”



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