There’s an unlikely new entrant into the music streaming wars: WeTransfer, a Dutch file-sharing service valued at more than $US100 million.
WeTransfer plans to release a new music player and to gun for exclusive tracks from big-name artists, according to Bloomberg. The company has previously worked with musicians like Prince and Disclosure.
WeTransfer was built in Europe on the concept of simplicity, but has been recently gaining traction in the US. The service allows you to send files of up to 2GB for free, and has 35 million monthly unique users globally.
WeTransfer became profitable a mere two years after its founding in 2009, on a mixture of advertising and its premium tier.
But though you can send any type of file with WeTransfer, music has always been part of its DNA. One of WeTransfer’s cofounders, Nalden (he goes by one name), started as a music blogger before building the file-sharing company. And it has since partnered with musicians to allow users to download things like mixtapes or videos.
But now WeTransfer wants to get into a different game altogether: streaming. And one factor that might differentiate WeTransfer from competitors like SoundCloud, or even Spotify and Apple Music, is that its leaders don’t want to make money off of the music element.
An executive at the company told Bloomberg they see it as a way to set themselves apart from companies like Dropbox — a way to bolster their core business, not as a source of profit in itself. It simply fits with the vision of the company.
“I’d like to see WeTransfer not as a utility that is handy, but as a great museum where you can discover great work,” Nalden told Business Insider. And while that might be a tad overstated, the idea of a file-transfer service as a discovery platform does seem to be a departure from the vision of WeTransfer’s competitors.
Because WeTransfer is not seeking to profit from music, it will be interesting to see what deals they will be able to strike. WeTranfer is looking to release mixtapes, music videos, and “rough cuts,” not necessarily entire albums, according to Bloomberg.
This focus makes sense with regards profit, and makes WeTransfer’s entry into the market more of a threat to services like SoundCloud than to those like Spotify.
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