Guvera may have been made available to Indonesian music fans, but the service is yet to be officially launched. As DailySocial reported previously, the Australian company got together with Indonesian mobile and digital services company Skybee to expand its market to Indonesia; and Skybee in turn signed up a number of local partners to bring Guvera to consumers.
DailySocial spoke with Pontus Sonnerstedt, CEO of Skybee who was previously Country Manager for Yahoo Indonesia, about the company’s plans for Guvera and how the partnership came to be. He noted that the service is indeed online and people can sign up and enjoy five days of free music from Guvera but there are still some wrinkles in the system that need to be worked out – a reason why the service hasn’t been officially announced yet. “We put the product out there now so we can kick the tires and fix everything,” he told DailySocial.
For example, the payment gateway, which will be powered by Doku, is yet to be installed.
Given the musical preference of Indonesians, it’s important for Guvera to have local content. While the service does have international content, it is still curating local content. Sonnerstedt said, “It’s an ongoing process to have local content. It takes time for that and we’re working very hard to have local content.” And that’s also the reason, why Skybee isn’t “screaming about it yet”.
Getting local labels on board is something that Skybee is working hard on. Since the dawn of digital downloads, local music labels have both been curious and apprehensive about adopting digital, given the high level of music piracy that exists in Indonesia. Absent the emergence and dominance of iTunes, Indonesian music labels and artists have mostly shied away from digital downloads, even legal ones, unless they are tightly wrapped in copy protection methods.
Sonerstedt said, “I think the local labels are keen to know how we work and promote. Everyone is keen on finding a business model that works. If you look around the world now, streaming is the fastest growing revenue source. It completely changed the way the market worked in the past six or seven years.”
Fully streaming music services don’t need to serve high quality sounds. Guvera streams in 64kbps audio, which sounds good enough for online radios and as Scott Hamilton, General Manager, Guvera said to Cnet Australia earlier this month, it’s good enough for casual mobile listeners. Ripping streamed audio is certainly possible but low quality audio playbacks won’t be as satisfying to listen to and when they are played back on high quality audio systems, they sound terrible. This loss in quality should provide music labels with the peace of mind that they seek when dealing with streaming services.
For local operations, Skybee is working with Jakarta-based software services company, Ice House, to localize Guvera and provide assistance for technical issues. Ice House is of course, staffed by many former Yahoo Indonesia engineers who were laid off in 2012. For Skybee, it’s all about having engineers available at a short notice. “Lets’ say we work with a telco or something and there are technical questions. If they sit in another country it just won’t be just as easy as calling the Ice House team. Of course it’s also fun to work with my old colleagues and it’s easy to work with people that you know who can deliver”.
Guvera’s business model in Indonesia differs from the Australian version. Sonnerstedt explained that the Australian market is more of a test case for the freemium model. “In Australia, they’ve made the decision to try this model. Of course you can grow much faster if you make it free, but it also means that you gotta support that with advertising, so you’ve gotta make that whole model work”.
The decision to go with a full subscription from the start for the Indonesian market seems to be triggered by the need to monetize as early as possible. According to Sonnerstedt, the decision had to be made due to the agreements with the local labels and artists but he’s not ruling out adopting a freemium model, or any other model for that matter, in the future if it proves to be feasible in Indonesia.
Although Sonnerstedt declined to provide a specific date, Guvera is scheduled to officially launch shortly for the Indonesian market.
[Header image courtesy of Dellawati Wijaya]
The post Skybee CEO Pontus Sonnerstedt on Guvera, Music Streaming, and Connecting with Former Yahoo Colleagues appeared first on DailySocial, and has been edited to meet stylesheet requirements of e27.