Turns out there’s an interesting niche for custom-created streaming music platforms — one that giants like Spotify can’t easily service. Tuned Global and ACX Music are two companies building this newfound market — we interview the CEOs of both companies in our latest podcast episode.
Once upon a time, it seemed unthinkable that 100 million people would pay for a monthly music streaming subscription. Now, Spotify alone boasts 165 million premium customers, while Apple reports more than 660 million subscribers across its broader suite of subscription services. Even YouTube Music has corralled 50 million premium subscribers, a once-unthinkable number — even for the music industry’s biggest optimists.
That’s good news for the music industry, especially for those that traversed the valley from CDs to downloads to streaming. But with all that heft, today’s streaming music elephants are less nimble when it comes to custom-crafted platform iterations. Smaller, customized iterations make less sense for mega-platforms like Apple Music, but major brands, fitness companies, and other partners are now demanding platforms customized for their purposes. That, in turn, is opening a brand-new opportunity for smaller platform builders.
Case in point: the UFC. Last year, Digital Music News first reported on the UFC’s groundbreaking streaming platform, UFC Ultimate Sound, which was created by ACX Music and Tuned Global. The niche platform revolved around its prized fighters and ravenous fans, with music an integral part of the app-based experience. One thing UFC Ultimate Sound definitely didn’t revolve around was a major streaming platform like YouTube.
Instead, the iteration was homegrown and standalone. For $9.99 per month (after a two-week free trial), UFC Ultimate Sound subscribers can enjoy playlists curated by “music professionals” and fighters themselves, with the overarching goal of bringing fans and athletes together. Users have the option of searching for and following mixes from their favorite competitors alongside similarly-obsessed fans.
“It’s all about bridging a gap between fans and their favorite sport,” said ACX Music CEO Svein Arne Sørgård. “With UFC Ultimate Sound, we can finally connect fans and fighters on a new level. Music brings people together, and we’ve given them a place to meet.”
That type of customized streaming partnership is nothing new for Tuned Global, a company DMN has partnered with to help expand the niche-focused streaming space. Whether the deals involve a global brand or fitness company, a dedicated streaming service aims to connect with a target audience. That means not trying to connect with everyone, which is why platforms like Spotify or YouTube make little sense for tailored applications.
In our latest podcast, we chatted with the heads of both Tuned Global (managing director and cofounder Con Raso) and ACX Music (the aforementioned Sørgård).
Both gave us serious insights into where this space is headed, and why we’re likely to see more niche apps like UFC Ultimate Sound in the coming months and years. And, how remarkably fast these platforms can be created — once the licensing is cleared, that is.