InternetQ sees Malaysia as a key growth market for Akazoo, particularly for smartphone users who make up more than 60% the country’s mobile phone market.
Akazoo will be pre-loaded onto the Sony’s new Xperia Z-Ultra and Xperia Z1 smartphones.
This deal comes after previous collaborations with Samsung and other locally branded smartphone makers in Asia.
It is a strong endorsement of the Akazoo product, coming from such a significant and reputable player in the hand set market.
It is particularly significant as the AIM-listed firm’s service is a rival to Google (with its Play ‘all access’ service) and Spotify, which has had the backing of over US$1bn of venture capital funding.
Malaysians buying the latest Sony handsets will receive three months of free music streaming, via Akazoo, and once that trial period runs out they have the option to subscribe to the paid-for service.
“Sony had a specific music strategy for Malaysia that we felt we could support, because our platform was licensed and ready to go, and is able to hit the metrics on user requirements,” revealed Colin Miles, InternetQ’s VP of corporate relations.
“Akazoo was the perfect solution for that kind of [customer] acquisition campaign.”
He adds: “From a strategic point of view, this one of the quickest ways for us to get distribution, to go with someone that has a large user base, activation can be rapid and large scale.
“The two key providers like that are mobile network operators and handset partners, so these are the two types strategic partners that we want to cultivate.
“Different markets and different countries have different strategies. I think we are quiet neutral, so we try to support any brand that wishes to do a co-marketing agreement.”
While the deal is clearly a positive development, there is an important distinction to be made – that the deal delivers Akazoo with access to an addressable audience rather than to an immediately revenue generating client base.
No matter how many customers buy a new Xperia phone, the ultimate number of subscribers will be a markedly smaller proportion.
However, Miles says the firm has in the past shown it can achieve client conversion, from trial into subscription, ahead of the ‘industry average’.
“Akazoo is a very attractive platform, it is very current because it is a streaming based solution which is pretty much de rigueur now.
“It is what the [record] labels prefer as a means of getting their music out there safely and for the end user it provides access to unlimited content and doesn’t have to be download or stored.
“It [Akazoo] is the perfect solution at the perfect time. And given the pace of smartphone adoption, which I think is going faster than anyone really imagined, it is the perfect nexus for us.”