LAS VEGAS -- Fans of Cricket Wireless' legacy Muve Music service must say goodbye to Muve come February 7, but not to all-you-can eat music.
On January 31, the carrier, which is now operated as AT&T's prepaid branch, starts a partnership with Deezer, a music service that's often compared to Spotify.
Also like Spotify, Deezer picked up steam overseas. This carrier distribution deal marks its first step into the US.
For existing Muve users, the new Deezer service will require a little getting used to. Like Muve, Deezer takes the form of an app, but there are differences. While there's a free, limited version, it's the premium rate that both companies are pushing. Instead of downloading all the music you want as part of the monthly Android plan, you'll have to pay a $6 monthly fee, which pops up in your carrier bill.
Moving from Muve
Existing Muve users on legacy Cricket phones get a free trial through March 31 (new users get 15 days). Cricket promises to ease customers over, no matter the phone, by pre-populating Deezer with any Muve playlists and albums.
"You'll start off with a robust experience, rather than a cold start," Deezer CEO Tyler Goldman said.
While purists may balk at the change, Goldman points out a few benefits. While Muve operated on a download-only model, Deezer can both offline-cache tunes as well as stream them on the fly. The service is also more fully featured, he said, letting users create stations based on their interests, in addition to building playlists or listening to curated stations.
In addition, Muve's Android-only app was sorely outdated, and Deezer's opt-in service supports iOS and Windows Phone as well as Android. Deezer also has 35 million tracks to Muve's 20 million song portfolio, a 40 percent jump. Finally, Goldman said, Deezer's $6 monthly cost is significantly lower than Spotify Premium at $10 per month, or $11 with taxes. Deezer's fee to Cricket users folds in taxes from the get-go.
On the topic, Cricket President Jennifer Van Buskirk notes that monthly pricing on the new Cricket works out to be about the same if not a little lower for the rate plan and music service, especially for subscribers who get a $5 monthly break.
Cricket launched Muve Music in January 2011 at CES in Las Vegas. Its transformation four years later is right on key.