You might not have heard of it, but Omnifone has offered something resembling a cloud-based, all-access, unlimited music service for digital eons. Back in 2008, I tested the British version of Omnifone that offered unlimited, over-the-air music downloads. That was over six months before Spotify launched anywhere, let alone in the U.S.
For the most part, the ten-year-old Omnifone is a white-label service, meaning that it provides the catalog and other features so that other, bigger brands can deliver music subscriptions. However, in December 2011, Omnifone launched its own on-demand music subscription service called Rara.
Omnifone announced this month that the music services it powers have added 1.2 million users since January –another strong indication that subscription services are taking off with the mainstream, rather than just music nerds, or maybe that everybody is turning into music nerds.
So, which of these services contributed the most to that 1.2 million figure, which is quite a few paying music subscribers to add in under six months?
“The growth reflects the increased demand for streaming services,” responded Omnifone spokeswoman Clodagh Boyle, “and is spread across SiriusXM, Sony Music Unlimited and rara.com.”
Spotify, Deezer, and Rhapsody have all said they’re experiencing growth, and now it looks like we can add SiriusXM, Sony Music, and Rara to that list. It will be interesting to see what effect the switch from music ownership to music access will have on our culture.
Here’s the infographic Omnifone sent over on the occasion of its tenth anniversary.