Unlimited Wireless Muve Music Service!
What's Muve Music? Muve was the first unlimited music service
to be bundled with a wireless plan. In this case, it was a
concept born out of Cricket Wireless as a strategy to differentiate its
service from other prepaid wireless carriers. Cricket was
able to enlist the participation of all four major music labels to
license content to the service.
The service launched in January 2011, and after only a couple of years,
it was able to hit the 1 million user mark, and is steadily rated as
second in usage only to iTunes. It has been quite popular,
with its users consuming ~40 hours per month, which equates to roughly
300 songs; i.e. people like it and are using it! Muve
ultimately reached 2 million users, and was spun off and sold to Deezer
in January 2015. Deezer converted it to a paid monthly
service under its own brand, and killed off the Muve brand.
I've kept this page here to preserve its history for wireless
and music aficionado!
What Was So Great About Muve Music?
- The fact that you could access millions of songs through
Cricket phone (it launched only on specific phones, but was later
rolled out to all Cricket phones), and it didn't count towards your
data allowance was pretty slick. In today's environment this
doesn't sound so unique, however, in its day this concept was very
innovative (keeping data consumption of a particular app outside of the
plan's data allowance).
- The unlimited music service was particularly innovative in
that they were able to develop an encryption and compression
methodology that doesn't tax the wireless network, while providing fast
and quality music in real time to the phone.
- It also involved a unique business model with artists and
labels who were used to Apple's per song compensation model.
With an unlimited service, new terms needed to be created and
agreed to, which is never an easy feat, particularly in the music
- Getting songs to your phone was all done
Over-The-Air (OTA), so no syncing, no cords; it's all wireless.
- If you damage or lose your phone, your music was
automatically backed up, and could be easily downloaded to your new
- You could manage your music from a Web interface if desired.
- You could make music you've downloaded into your ring tone.
- You could multi-task on your phone while listening to
i.e. Changing to another app didn't pause the music.
This was very unique for a music app at the time, and a
fantastic user experience.
- My DJ feature would create play lists
you based on what you've already downloaded; if you liked a play list,
you could save it and edit it to your liking. Again, a unique
feature at the time.
- The Social feature allowed you to share
music collections with your friends and download their favorite songs.
- With the integration of Shazam, you
have the app identify a song on the radio for you, and then download it
to your phone if desired.
What Was Not So Great About Muve Music?
- You didn't need to have wireless coverage to play songs
you'd already downloaded. Obviously not possible with
- You needed to use a special Cricket-provided micro-SD card
that enabled access to the music to be encrypted, such that it couldn't
transfered to any other non-Cricket phone or device (including PC/MAC).
Not only did this restrict how you were able to use the
but it meant that you couldn't just go out and buy a new micro-SD card
Amazon for use in your phone for regular data storage as it wouldn't be
compatible with Muve. Fortunately this restriction
was later removed, and Deezer undoubtedly appreciated
acquiring the technology behind this feature.
Cricket Spun Off Muve Music
- When you left Cricket, you would lose access to your music.
This certainly makes sense as you weren't really buying any
songs, but simply getting access to millions of songs from your Cricket
phone. While this made people more sticky to Cricket (i.e.
it motivates them to keep the service longer), for music
enthusiasts who invest a lot of time organizing their music, leaving
was quite painful, to the point where they may not ever use
Cricket, or use Muve, in anticipation of knowing they wouldn't be
the carrier for long enough to make the effort worthwhile.
They would simply stick with
iTunes, even though that service wasn't nearly as good a deal
In 2012, Cricket spun off Muve as a separate company, then
becoming a vendor to Cricket. Why did they do that?
Cricket felt that the service was so innovate and appealing,
that it could offer the service to other
both domestically and internationally. Keeping it within
Cricket would have resulted in too much conflict of interest.
This new business growth never really materialized, and
AT&T quickly ditched the service in a sale to Deezer shortly
after acquiring Cricket.
Ultimately, Muve Music was an appealing service, particularly given
that it was unlimited. Cricket played around with
having it as
an add-on (ex. $5 or $10 per month extra), as well as including it in
the monthly service plan price. Either way, for music lovers
it was a great value, and a very functional service. Given
most of us carry our phones everywhere, having the music "stuck" on our
phone didn't seem like such a big deal, and was a fantastic selling
point for Cricket service in general. Unfortunately, as part
of Deezer it really can be considered dead. They may leverage
some of the underlying technology to enable offline usage, and to offer
an unlimited service, however, I've frankly lost track of it since its
sale. Follow the link to learn more about No
Contract Cell Phone Plans Including Unlimited