February 27, 2014 11:50 am

MixRadio comes to Nokia X and Asha

Conversations caught up with Jyrki Rosenberg at MWC, who believes that MixRadio is a listening experience, not a music service.

It’s an hour before delegates start shuffling onto Nokia’s stand to catch a glimpse of one of MWC’s biggest stories; the Nokia X. Jyrki Rosenberg, VP Entertainment at Nokia, has just arrived for our interview – delayed by traffic but wearing a big grin.

He’s clearly excited about the subject of our interview; how Nokia X – and the Asha touch family, through the impending 1.4 software update that’s due to rollout from April – have the potential to bring MixRadio to a whole new audience.

JyrkiRosenberg

“For Asha, such as the 500, 501, 502 and 503, it’s big news. There are lots of devices already out there and, apart from India and Russia, MixRadio hasn’t been in many countries on Asha. Now we’re making it available globally, in 29 more countries, to existing Asha owners, free of charge without registration. Just update the software and press play” says Jyrki, enthusiastically.

He’s right to be excited and animated. The idea of millions of new people being able, some for the first time, to stream music from their mobile phone is an eye-opening concept for much of the western world.

“MixRadio is unique”, says Jyrki, “we see it as a way of giving music back to the people. In many of the growth markets that we’re bringing MixRadio to, people haven’t had the access to new music, they haven’t been able to subscribe and they haven’t had on-demand services. They’ve relied on a scattered approach to get files from here and there. Suddenly they have this really modern, high-end, personalised, easy-to-use app where, with one click of a button, they can get their favourite music.”

On paper, it sounds great but what about the mobile infrastructure issues in growth markets? Not everyone has access to Wi-Fi and music streaming via data networks could prove costly. Jyrki is quick to interject:

“There are two reasons why it works. One: we’ve already made it work for India, Russia, China, Indonesia, Thailand and many more; we stream tracks at a low bit-rate. Secondly, you have offline mixes that you can take with you anywhere. Whether that’s your Play Me (personal radio station) mixes or curated mixes globally, which by the way, we now have more than 10,000 of. That’s more than anyone else.”

mixradio2The personalisation story has been at the heart of MixRadio launch and is something that will come to both Nokia X and select Asha devices, as Jyrki explains:

“The experience is the same as you’d find across the range. We’re really happy that we’ve been able to integrate Play Me to the Nokia X family. It means we can start learning about people’s music tastes immediately, and bring them their favourite music wherever they are. In essence MixRadio is your personalized radio station, but you can also get our curated mixes and can create artist mixes whether you’ve got an Asha, one of the Nokia X family or Lumia phone”

With MixRadio on the cusp of gaining a lot more traction, we asked Jyrki about future plans for the app:

“We’ve already demonstrated the MixRadio integration into cars. If you research what people in their cars are actually doing, listening to music is the top activity. We met with the HERE team along with other car manufacturers just yesterday to discuss integrating MixRadio into more vehicles.”

“But it’s really all about getting MixRadio in the hands of as many people as possible. Whether that’s through cars or low-cost devices and making it truly global. We believe the music industry is heading towards a personalised system and, while our competitors do a great job, some of them address a niche audience if you look at it globally.

“There are people who have the time to spare making their own playlists and managing tracks through a computer, and have the money to spend €9.99 per month, but we see the majority of people wanting a service like MixRadio. They just want to listen to music.”

“But the key isn’t whether it costs anything or not. Most People love music but don’t really care about technology, so our mission has been to remove the technology between you and the music. MixRadio isn’t a music service; it’s a listening experience. We are promoting music, not a service, and giving music back to the people by removing the technical hassle.”

“In Play Me, the personalized music feature that we introduced first on Lumia, we have a market-leading experience that puts us way ahead of the other global music services. Our exclusive mash up of human expertise and cutting edge technology means we can create a unique music profile for each of our listeners, from Mumbai to Manchester, and make intelligent playlists tailored to their individual tastes. It really is like having your own personal radio station.”

Having introduced us to his own mix – including  Biffy Clyro, Train and P!nk, if you were interested – Jyrki is keen to prove just how easy MixRadio is to use, so we’ve put his bespoke Play Me playlist here (or scan the QR code at the top of the page).

MixRadio comes with all Nokia X devices, straight out of the box and on Asha devices that have the latest 1.4 update, which will be rolling out in April.

Are you looking forward to getting MixRadio on your Nokia X or Asha device? Have you used it before? Let us know in the comments.