Boasting over 2.5M users worldwide, Japan’s social music app Nana unveils premium service

Nana Music CEO Akinori Fumihara

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Nana Music, the Japanese startup offering the freemium social music collaboration app Nana, announced last week that they have begun offering the paid subscription service “Nana premium” for iOS users. For 580 yen a month (about $5.80 US) users will have access to added functions such as searching based on how much ‘applause’ (similar to ‘likes’ on Facebook) a song has, new effects, and the ability to pin favorite sounds at the top of their “My Page” feed. The company plans to offer additional new features to paying subscribers in the future.

Nana is a social network that allows users to combine accompaniment tracks, voice tracks, etc. to form entirely new music content.

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As of August this year, according to CEO Akinori Fumihara, since the launch in November of 2012 31 million songs have been posted, with over 1.1 billion views, and registered users totaling more than 2.5 million. If they continue to grow at this rate, by January of next year it is likely the number of users will reach 3 million.

Nana’s user growth
Image credit: Nana Music

He said:

Our users sing and then post it; then that gets shared and brings in followers, this cycle is what’s powering our growth. But there is a hurdle we’re really trying to overcome. As a result of not getting any information at registration, without really understanding (how the app works), some users are suddenly being cast out of Nana’s community and end up withdrawing entirely.

The company understands their user base is young, that the contents tends to be centered around Vocaloid and anime songs, and that people who feel intimidated do not assimilate, so they have come up with features such as categorizing groups, and the ability to personalize based on individual information.

Some of Nana Premium’s additional functions
Image credit: Nana Music

So, how far will they grow from here?

Fumihara noted that no matter how hard you try 30 million users within Japan is the upper limit, so overseas expansion becomes necessary.

Currently around 70% of our users are domestic, but we’d like to reverse that. Now, we have a lot of users in Thailand and North America, and soon this momentum should lead to nearly 40% of Spanish speaking countries (using Nana). It’s the result of using APO (app search optimization) and focusing on Android.

In Japan, users who play instruments have begun collaborating on songs, adding in the voices of people who want to sing, leading to an increase in contents. The company believes that if they try a similar approach, “because singing is non-verbal” a direct deployment in foreign countries is possible.

In regards to charging for services, initially they considered a tipping model, but in the midst of a variety of advice, they chose the current model.

He added:

There was a conflict over monetization. On the business side, we are doing advertising campaigns aimed at corporations, and while there are a variety of directions we could take, I had the thought that I couldn’t support a community along with these zealous people. In order to make an even more convenient, enjoyable world for music lovers I feel like maybe the best way is to do it together with them.

I came away with the impression that, having looked after the Nnana community for a number of years now, this business model suits him.

Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda