Muve Music doubles catalog to 10M tracks via CDBaby, TuneCore deals


Leap Wireless' (NASDAQ:LEAP) Cricket Communications unit is adding content from independent digital music distributors CD Baby and TuneCore to its Muve Music service. According to Cricket, the new partnerships will double the size of the Muve catalog to 10 million tracks by the end of 2012.

The CD Baby partnership adds up to 4 million new tracks from more than 300,000 indie label artists across 850 different musical genres. In addition, the deal enables artists to upload their content directly to the Muve Music catalog, without the need for third-party record label involvement. Over the last 12 years, CD Baby has paid participating artists more than $200 million in revenues derived from premium downloads, streaming music subscriptions and CD sales.

TuneCore distributes music to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iTunes, Spotify, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play, eMusic, AmazonMP3, Deezer and other sites for a flat fee, and claims no rights and no revenues from tracks sold through its network. The company touts more than 700,000 artist and label account holders, with over 600 million units sold in the last two years, generating more than $300 million in gross music sales and songwriter revenue. The TuneCore deal expands the Muve catalog by another 2 million tracks; per terms of the agreement, Cricket will obtain the rights to both the recordings and songs represented by TuneCore and will pay royalties directly to the company. 

Cricket also plans to integrate content from independent music and video distributor The Orchard. The carrier said a phased rollout of tracks from all three distributors will begin immediately.

Cricket launched the all-you-can-eat Muve Music effort in early 2011, trumpeting songs from all four major labels (Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and EMI Music). The service leverages a SanDisk solution that enables DRM-free over-the-air downloads--content is stored and protected on a special flash memory card, which according to Cricket skirts conventional DRM requirements and translates to an improved user experience, enhanced handset performance and extended battery life.

Muve Music is available on Android smartphones as part of Cricket's $55 flat-rate monthly service package, which includes unlimited nationwide calling as well as unlimited messaging, mobile web access, data backup and video. As of January 2012, more than 500,000 Cricket subscribers were using Muve Music.

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