Cricket's Muve Music's fate is up in air following AT&T deal

AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) does not have any current plans to alter or change Cricket provider Leap Wireless' (NASDAQ:LEAP) Muve Music service. The FCC just blessed AT&T's takeover of Leap, and along with the 4.57 million total customers Leap had as of Feb. 28, Muve is one of its key assets.

leap cricket AT&T beats muve music

Leap's Cricket introduced Muve Music in 2011.

"Regarding Muve Music, it's going to take some time for us to bring the two brands together," Cricket spokeswoman Alejandra Arango told FierceWireless. "Right now, we're focused on the integration, but in the coming months, we'll share more details on all of our plans, products and services."

When asked to clarify if AT&T planned on changing Muve in any way, Arango said "it's just too soon to say how we'll handle Muve."

AT&T has said it will shutter its Aio Wireless prepaid brand, which it has renamed New Cricket. AT&T launched Aio last year shortly before announcing its deal with Leap. Jennifer Van Buskirk, who had been the president of Aio, is now the president of New Cricket.

In an interview with the Denver Post, Van Buskirk said the combination of AT&T's Aio and Leap's Cricket is "still really early on in the planning process."

Leap launched Muve Music in 2011 and the service is currently offered for free in service plans for customers with Android smartphones. In a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Leap said Muve Music was available to more than 2.3 million Cricket customers as of the end of 2013, "and is currently among the largest on-demand music subscription services in the U.S. as measured by the number of paid users."

Interestingly, Leap said last year it inked a licensing agreement to provide Muve Music to TIM Celular S.A. in Brazil. Leap previously announced it was working to license Muve to overseas carriers.

Muve allows Cricket customers to download an unlimited number of songs from labels including Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. Muve Music 4.0, which Leap launched in July 2013, introduced a new user interface designed to support more efficient navigation, highlighted by a new sidebar menu giving users immediate access to all core features. The redesign also allowed customers to play songs as soon as they begin downloading.

AT&T's long-term plans for Muve Music could be affected by the agreement it announced in January to offer the new Beats Music streaming service at a discount to its family plan customers.

Beats Music features a catalog of more than 20 million fully licensed songs from all the major labels, including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group, as well as all independent labels. The service offers unlimited access to curated music (both streaming and downloaded for offline listening) of the songs, albums and playlists. In addition to personalization technology, Beats Music uses human experts to curate hand-picked songs while streaming.

Under the deal with AT&T, Beats Music is available to AT&T wireless customers on a multi-line account for $14.99  per month. AT&T and Beats Music have said up to five family members across 10 devices can access the Beats Music service and get their own personal music on their own personal devices.

For more:
- see this Denver Post article 

Related Articles:
Analysts: AT&T to roll out new Cricket prepaid strategy at the end of Q2
FCC approves AT&T's acquisition of Cricket provider Leap, with divestitures
Leap takes hit from T-Mobile, loses 27% of its customers in 18 months
Leap launches new device financing options, revamps Muve Music
Cricket's Muve Music 4.0 touts new UI, custom playlists
AT&T partners with Beats for streaming music service

Correction, March 19, 2014: This article incorrectly stated that AT&T had shut down its Aio Wireless prepaid brand; AT&T intends to do so but has not done so yet.

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