Clear Channel, the dominant player in traditional radio, is going over the air and into the cloud. The radio company on Monday night announced it has purchased Thumbplay, a mobile digital music company, for an undisclosed sum.
Thumbplay uses cloud-based technology to let users stream music from a catalog of 8 million songs to devices such as BlackBerry, Android or iPhone for $9.99 a month. It also lets users buy song downloads a la carte, with prices ranging from 69 cents to $1.29.
The digital music streaming company, founded six years ago as a purveyor of ringtones by Evan Schwartz, sells its services through thousands of online outlets, including AOL and Clear Channel.
Robert Pittman, chairman of Clear Channel's media and entertainment platforms, said the subscription service rounds out the company's free online radio offerings, which include 750 streaming radio channels from its local stations.
Clear Channel, though a powerhouse in terrestrial over-the-air radio, is just one of many players when it comes to the Web. The dominant player among free Internet radio services is Pandora, an Oakland, Calif.-based company that recently announced plans to sell its shares in an initial public offering.
Among subscription music services, in which members pay a monthly fee to be able to access a large catalog of songs on demand, Thumbplay competes with Rhapsody, Napster, Rdio, eMusic and MOG.
-- Alex Pham