HONG KONG — Technology giant Motorola acquired South Asian online music provider Soundbuzz on Monday.
Based in Singapore and serving a region stretching from India to New Zealand, Soundbuzz carries 750,000 music tracks and hundreds of thousands of ringtones.
Headed by Sudhanshu Sarronwala, company operates under its own brand in some territories and supplies digital music services to online and mobile phone companies. These include Indiatimes, Bharti/Airtel and Tata-VSNL in India; Telstra BigPond, Optus Zoo and Woolworths Group in Australia; and Singapore Telecom and M1 in Singapore.
Motorola launched its own digital music operation, Motomusic, two years in China and expanded that to Hong Kong and Taiwan. Motorola said the acquisition of Soundbuzz will accelerate its activities in Asia quicker than if it tried to build local operations itself. The music market in Asia is understood to have grown by some 4%-5% in 2007, even as the rest of the world likely saw a decline.
Although Soundbuzz delivers to PC and mobile users, 90% of its sales come via mobile channels — a proportion that is higher than Motorola’s but is seen as the direction in which the industry is going.
Last month Soundbuzz launched a new service that allows users to download tracks in standard and hi-fi versions, with the consumer device choosing the most appropriate file size.
A Motorola spokesman said both companies would benefit from the partnership between mobile handset manufacturer and mobile music provider.
Soundbuzz licenses its content from Sony BMG, EMI, Warner Music Intl. and Universal Music Group, as well as more than 45 independent record labels in Asia, including Saregama, Tips, Venus, Inreco and T-Series from India; Star Records, Universal Records, RS Promotion in South East Asia; and Shock, Central Station and Roadshow in Australia.
Motorola says it intends to maintain Soundbuzz’s Singapore HQ. Value of the transaction and details of Soundbuzz’s financial performance were not disclosed, though a Motorola spokesman said the cost of the acquisition will be revealed in a results filing after the deal has been completed.