SAN FRANCISCO -- A Finnish tech company has partnered with NSM Music to create and market a social jukebox app -- without the need for a traditional jukebox. The partnership and new service was announced at the recent SF Music Tech Summit.
Playmysong, a startup from Finland, has been involved in the emerging mobile jukebox space for about two years and offers its music technology to venues around the world. Its first location in New York City went live in early 2012. Now, the company's app integrates with NSM's jukebox music library for a new interactive service designed for U.S. bar and restaurant locations. The Playmysong NSM Jukebox is free to location owners -- and like a traditional jukebox, it generates revenue by charging the patron 50¢ for a song request.
The new service will begin testing this month. It's rolling out with this offer: "Customers pay 50¢ for a song request and locations earn 10¢ per request; for every 500 paid song requests, Playmysong NSM pays the location $50." The mobile apps feature built-in support for credit purchases, and users can purchase credits and use them to pay for songs.
By connecting Playmysong's iPad jukebox app with NSM's library, bars can immediately launch the service with a network-connected iPad (or Mini), and start participating in revenue share generated by paid song requests that bar patrons make, according to NSM senior vice-president Bob Cooney.
"As consumer adoption of smartphones continues to grow, it is strategically important for NSM to offer a product that is relevant to today's bar patrons," Cooney said. "Partnering with Playmysong enables us to offer a fully licensed, cutting-edge, mobile and social music experience for patrons that actually earns money for our locations."
With other social music apps, music is usually free to users, but locations pay a subscription fee for service. However, they all allow locations to create their own playlists and patrons (app users) to "crowdsource" the music experience. This is how Playmysong works in Europe, where Mood Media is its commercial music supplier, and up until now in the U.S. The Playmysong NSM customer app runs on iPhones and Android smartphones.
"Since last year, we've gotten loads of requests from U.S. venues to provide a solution that includes a fully licensed music library," said Playmysong cofounder and chief executive Rami Korhonen. "Our partnership with NSM Music allows us to provide this turnkey service."
The Playmysong NSM Jukebox app integrates with popular social networks, allowing venues to offer patrons a limited number of free songs in return for checking in on Foursquare, liking on Facebook and tweeting on Twitter. After that, customers pay for each song request.
For NSM, putting its jukebox services in the cloud is a way for it to stay pertinent in a shrinking marketplace, and expand into new territory. "NSM needs to pivot to other markets that offer growth," Cooney told VT.
NSM is the No. 3 player in the American commercial jukebox space, which typically employs professional vending operators to run equipment in venues. NSM's hardware, a touchscreen kiosk with payment system, formerly ran on the now-defunct Ecast network, so the company has been trying to compete by selling jukeboxes, which now run on its own network, directly to locations, in addition to offering them to operators.
NSM's direct-sales business is struggling, Cooney told Vending Times. "It's more difficult than we expected," he said.
Cooney noted that the relationships between operators and their clients remain very strong, and for many businesses served by the industry, jukeboxes and amusements are still an important part of the P&L.
That said, the Playmysong NSM Jukebox app targets locations that do not have or want a traditional jukebox. It provides location management with greater control over their playlists. "We can build and curate a customer playlist of 1,000 or so songs," Cooney explained. "Many times, this is all a location wants."
While traditional jukebox services have software filters that can block certain content from being played in specified locations, that control is sometimes not enough for some locations. The Playmysong NSM app tightens the control while giving patrons access to the playlist.
The value proposition? "We're giving venues a legal music system that doesn't cost anything, and generates a little bit of revenue -- something to top off the tip jar," Cooney said.
The Playmysong app is available at the App Store and Google Play as free downloads. By subscribing to the optional Playmysong NSM Jukebox add-on service, bars get access to NSM Music's music library, moneymaking opportunities and Playmysong's Pro features, which include:
» Customized thank you messages for in-bar marketing
» Branded jukebox page for the venue
» Playmysong big screen digital TV display
» Marketing materials
Go to playmysong.com/usa to learn more about the iPad jukebox app. Venues can subscribe to Playmysong NSM Jukebox at email@example.com.