Line is shutting down MixRadio a year and two months after it bought the business from Microsoft in December 2014. Line says its decision to close the Pandora-like service is due to the subsidiary’s “overall performance” and “the financial challenges posed by the music streaming market.” The difficult of making money while streaming music is something that’s hurting even the industry’s biggest players, including Spotify. And MixRadio picked a difficult strategy, offering free access to its radio streams and offline mixes supported by ads, and focusing solely on mobile.
The closure is not solely due to financial reasons, though: Line notes that the “priorities of Line Corporation” also played a part in the decision. In June last year, the company’s CEO, Takeshi Idezawa, said that after years of trying to attract users globally, Line’s main priority is Asia. The app has some 215 million monthly users, but 65 percent of these are in its four core markets: Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia. As TechCrunch notes, the company has been developing localized services for these countries, partnering with Indonesian motorbike taxi app Go-Jek, for example. Similarly, although MixRadio is being shut down, the company continues to operate its Line Music streaming service in Japan and Thailand.