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Thumbplay Music app makes its way to iPhone

June 4, 2010

Evan Schwartz is CEO/cofounder of Thumbplay

Evan Schwartz is CEO/cofounder of Thumbplay

Three years and 200,000 applications later, Thumbplay has finally released its music app for Apple’s iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices.

The company claims it is the first mobile content provider on all three major platforms – iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, which combined address 85 percent of the United States smartphone market.

Mobile Commerce Daily interviewed Evan Schwartz, CEO/cofounder of Thumbplay, New York. Here is what he said.

Why wait so long to launch for iPhone?
Our decision to launch on BlackBerry in January was by-design: BlackBerry is the largest platform in the United States market and to-date. Thumbplay is still the only on-demand music service there. 

Developing for BlackBerry was our first priority and our launch on Android just a few months later also turned out to be an equally sound strategy-wise as we assumed the No. 2 U.S. market share position. 

Our launch on iPhone was extremely timely and we are proud to be the first and only service on all three major U.S. platforms which represent 85 percent of the U.S. market.

Does the app serve as a threat to iTunes?
Thumbplay Music is a next-generation cloud-based service built for people who love music, and that’s what defines our competitive set for us.

We’ve made it extremely music-centric and user friendly, including such features as Playlist Import which allows you to import existing playlists quickly, effortlessly and wirelessly with auto-syncing to your smartphone.

What is the strategy behind the application?
We’ve created a music service with mobile as its centerpiece – it’s easy to use, wireless and automatic – a great user experience made by people who love music. 

This is a critical differentiator. 

Given the technology and proliferation of smartphones, and our success in the U.S. in delivering a millions of pieces of mobile content, across all platforms and spanning more than 2,500 devices, we see a significant advantage.

Moreover, our distribution network of more than 8,000 partners is an enormous asset as we leverage those relationships for Thumbplay Music – we know better than anyone how to find the people who want mobile entertainment. 

What other platforms is Thumbplay Music available on?
Thumbplay is the most widely available cloud-based music service in the U.S., accessible to smartphone users on BlackBerry, Android, and now iPhone. The service is also accessible on all PCs/Macs.

How is the iPhone app unique?
Thumbplay Music is incredibly feature-rich.  For example, one very popular feature on the service that does not exist with any other on-demand service on the iPhone is Playlist Genie – a recommendation tool that allows users to select a song and get 14 more like it.  It’s a great way to both discover new music and to quickly build playlists. 

I’d also point out Playlist Import – this is a great feature that, with just a couple of clicks from the PC/Mac application, enables users to incorporate all of their existing playlists – including iTunes — into the Thumbplay Music cloud-based service.  And of course, the playlists automatically sync to the user’s smartphone.

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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