Make Hay While The Sun Shines: Music Download Service 7digital Riding The Coattails Of HTC

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In the pre-app store days, getting your application or service ‘on-deck’, thereby shipping it pre-installed on millions of handsets, was the holy grail of mobile. These days, the market is little more open, thanks to the likes of the iOS App Store and Google Play, but it still pays to ride the coattails of a handset maker, especially if it ships in volume.

And that certainly looks like the case with music download service 7digital (which is half owned by HMV Group), and its partnership with HTC. Today the company is boasting that its ‘integrated music download application’ will ship on 20 million HTC Android devices in EMEA by the end of 2012. Furthermore, 7digital is the only pre-installed music download store to be shipped with all HTC ICS Sense 4.0 Android devices in the region, including the Hero devices from the One Series.

That appears to be a decent win for 7digital — for now (see below) — particularly when you factor in that it’s far from exclusive — the music service also has a deal with HTC rival Samsung to power its Music Hub app on the Galaxy SIII smartphone and is also planned for pre-install on other devices in the Galaxy family.

7digital also has partnerships with handset makers RIM (remember the PlayBook, anybody? Me neither), Acer, and Toshiba, although their nature varies depending on the devices that 7digital is installed on. In addition, the company has its own stand-alone Android app. However, how many handsets have shipped with 7digital pre-installed in total, the company isn’t saying.

But back to the HTC tie-in. The 7digital application is integrated with the native HTC player, giving users the option to browse, preview and purchase music from 7digital’s 19 million-strong catalogue from all 4 major labels and a number of independent aggregators. The app also has support for 7digital’s cloud-based music Locker.

And while we’re on the subject of the cloud: moving forward, it looks very likely that HTC is making a big bet on music streaming over downloads, in the form of the Beats’ acquisition of MOG. Beats Electronics, best known for is hip Dr Dre headphones is partly backed by HTC. That, of course, isn’t such good news for 7digital.

Make hay while the sun shines, as they say.