Messaging Firm Line Partners With Two Labels To Launch A Music Streaming Business

Messaging app company Line is expanding into music streaming after it announced the launch of Line Music, a new venture backed by recording labels Avex Digital and Sony Music Entertainment.

The venture was first revealed in October, at Line’s annual event where it also unveiled global plans for its manga service and two new ventures for its games business. Now the business has been established, Line says it is preparing the groundwork to introduce “a new subscription-based music streaming service”.

Line Music, which is armed with 480,000,000 JPY (around $4 million), looks like being a global venture, although the company hasn’t revealed much information at this point:

LINE MUSIC Corporation is currently in the process of holding concrete discussions on how to best capitalize on the appealing content and experience developing music services possessed by both ADG and SME, as well as the global user base and experience developing and operating smartphone services boasted by LINE, in order to provide opportunities for users to be exposed to new music, and to further develop and accelerate the expansion of the music industry as a whole by creating all new ways of enjoying music in the smartphone era.

It added that it “plans to make further announcements when detailed information regarding the service is finalized,” so we’ll have to wait on more specific information.

Line is keen to expand from being a top messaging app (it has over 500 million registered users, and 170 million monthly active users) into an entertainment and services platform. It is hatching plans for a raft of services in Japan — including taxi booking and food delivery — and it is also set to introduce its mobile payments service worldwide soon.

Even though the company is still to really break out in the U.S. and most of Europe, Line is pushing hard to bring its value added services to global users. Line Pay, for example, is due to launch worldwide soon — according to a press release mistakenly dispatched to media last week — while Line has invested in games and stickers to lure new users in the West.

It has even set up a temporary ‘pop-up’ store selling its merchandising in New York.

line store

Ultimately, it is unclear whether this strategy will help bring new users aboard its messaging app — that’s particularly under debate in the U.S., where Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and Kik lead a competitive and congested market.

The competition is equally as strong in the music streaming space. YouTube just entered a field that already includes the likes of Google, Spotify, Beats, Pandora, Rdio and others.

Line, which is expected to reassess a potential IPO in 2015 having postponed a public listing this year, owns 40 percent of Line Music. Sony Music holds a further 40 percent, with Avex Digital taking the remaining 20 percent.

The company said it doubled its revenue in its latest quarter of business. Line reported that it made $192 million in Q3 2014, but it did not reveal a figure for net profit or loss.