FNAC tried a few years back to tackle the digital music world, but never managed to build a sizeable digital music business given the dominance of iTunes. In 2012 however, they eventually ended up stopping their digital music activity and partnering with Apple instead. Now FNAC has decided to jump into the world of digital music again, but this time their focus is the rapidly growing streaming space.
Yesterday, FNAC launched FNAC Jukebox which will pit them against global streaming leaders Deezer and Spotify. As the streaming market is still, in essence, small with massive growth potential, FNAC feels that there’s a lot of opportunity for them to become an important player in the French market particularly given that the FNAC brand is strong and well-known with consumers that have yet to discover streaming. And given that according to a study presented by Midem that stated that only 8% of the French use streaming services, there’s definitely room to grow.
Like its new rivals Deezer and Spotify, FNAC offers a vast array of titles as well as an unlimited streaming contract (at €4.99 / month) from the web. If users want to listen to this music, however, from a mobile device, they’ll need to pay an additional €5 / month.
However, one aspect that differs from pretty much all the other streaming services out there is that they don’t have a free option. FNAC reasons that free streaming, which is generally supported by an advertising model, offers a poorer experience for the user, particularly given that the music on free services is often disrupted by ads. As an alternative, FNAC has decided to offer a low-cost €2 / month service that allows consumers to listen to up to 200 titles on the web, which goes up to €7 / month if they want to listen from a mobile device.
FNAC’s as well as other music retailers’ woes in recent years have been legendary. While this move could pay-off in a big way for FNAC, particularly if they can go after their current consumers who have yet to discover streaming, it remains to be seen if this will help stem the bleeding.