Yesterday, Hypebot announced that digital jukebox platform TouchTunes would be merging with in-store music provider PlayNetwork. Background music isn't historically sexy, but the multi-billion dollar in-store music industry can no longer be ignored.
A little background..
TouchTunes is a digital entertainment platform, providing a jukebox, karaoke, and photo booth services to over 65,000 restaurant and bar locations across North America. Patrons of the venue can control a selected library of music from the TouchTunes mobile app, which currently boasts 5 million downloads.
PlayNetwork is an experiential marketing company that services A/V solutions and a branded music strategy to outlets like Starbucks, Urban Outfitters, Hilton Hotels, and GAP. PlayNetwork boasts "worldwide brand consistency," with delivery in over 110 countries and over 55 territories.
I think this is a potentially great merge for a few reasons.
PlayNetwork has a savvy, human curation team
Not generic algorithm-based playlists. Paired with TouchTunes' ability for customers to choose the music, retail and restaurants can better understand the tastes of their customers, instead of forcing their mistaken brand identity.
More Indie Music
There is currently a high barrier to entry for bands without a major label or publisher to be on TouchTunes, though PlayNetwork has an artist-friendly curation team and contract process that might streamline this process. Read: the music still has to be good!
Better royalty recording and reporting.
Both PlayNetwork and TouchTunes claim to pay royalties to the PRO's (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC) for the public performance of songs. I say "claim" because I've had to track these cue sheets down manually from a Starbucks partner in the past. I believe TouchTunes has the technology to provide accurate accounting for all brand partners. Ideally they would even partner with an audio recognition company like Soundstr for more transparency and unbiased accounting.
There's no word on how the merge will affect PlayNetwork's relationship with the Spotify-backed Soundtrack Your Brand, who recently inked a global deal with McDonald's.
However, we can be sure that Mood Media - owner of Muzak and partner of Pandora for Business - is taking notes.