Rumor: HTC's Beats Audio buys music streaming service MOG

By on March 20, 2012, 1:30 PM

Subscription music service MOG may have been acquired by HTC through its audio technology unit Beats Audio, according to a rumor reported by Business Insider. Neither company has commented on the report so far but a separate source cited by GigaOM suggests the deal happened a few weeks ago.

The possibility of HTC buying a music subscription service to differentiate its mobile phones from the competition has been floating around for a while, ever since the company acquired a 51% stake in Beats Electronics in 2011 for $300 million. In fact, Beats Audio founder James Iovine was apparently key to these plans, motivated in part by the success of wireless operator Cricket with the Muve music subscription service.

Similarly, rumors emerged last month that MOG was shopping itself around. Although CEO David Hyman denied rumors that MOG was for sale, he admitted that the company had in fact talked to potential buyers.

MOG boasts a catalog of 14 million tracks and has deals with all the major records labels. Its feature set is on par or at times superior to rival services like Rdio and Spotify, but despite receiving favorable reviews online it has struggled to gather the same level of attention that the latter is receiving since its U.S. launch.

A potential acquisition by HTC could be huge a boon for MOG if the company decides to ship the new service -- along a free trial -- with all upcoming handsets. Then again, they could probably achieve the same through a partnership rather than an outright buyout. We'll have to wait and see where this goes.

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