Why Sony Music-backed music service Popped failed


Former Sony Music staffer Daan Grasveld has spent the last three years working on a new digital music service called Popped, backed by his former employer.

In February (yes, we missed it at the time) he published an interesting blog post on Medium outlining why the venture had failed.

Developed as a “dead simple music service that offers instant music to your mood and taste”, Popped would offer a month’s free trial before ushering listeners into a €4.99-a-month subscription.

Among the problems outlined by Grasveld in his piece: Popped spent 80% of its pre-launch budget and development time “on stuff consumers wouldn’t notice”; didn’t realise until launch that its onboarding and retention processes weren’t fit for purpose; and this startling paragraph.

“Popped was built upon all requirements the major labels gave us. We had spent many hours becoming eligible for streaming their content, while we could have saved tons of time by simply ripping a bunch of songs from the internet, creating a basic interface and start testing whether people would like the service and ultimately might consider paying for it,” wrote Grasveld.

Instead: “Our product wasn’t right, we were out of money and our hands were tied by the content owners, stopping us from being able to pivot to a proposition that made all the elements fell in one place.” There’s plenty more in the post.

Stuart Dredge

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