Samsung’s music service, which you didn’t know existed, stops existing next month.
It’s easy to pick on Samsung here, but they’re not the only company to overestimate the power of a distribution platform.
It’s true that you can’t get media/apps/services to customers without access to a platform. But control of the platform doesn’t mean customers are going to use your media/apps/services: They’ve got plenty of choice, and they’ll choose the ones they want.
Ask Verizon and Comcast, which both launched video apps on their networks last year and have nothing to show for it. (You’ve heard of Verizon’s Go90 only because Verizon keeps talking about it when people ask why it spent $10 billion on AOL and Yahoo; you have completely forgotten about Comcast’s Watchable.)
Soon you’ll be able to ask AT&T, which is launching its own video app this fall, which will also feature lots of content people either don’t want or can get elsewhere.
The counter here is Apple, which says it signed up 15 million paying subscribers for its Apple Music service a year after launch. That one’s entirely about Apple’s installed base of iOS users + iTunes users.
But the counter to that counter is that Apple rival Spotify has grown even faster — without the benefit of an owned and operated platform.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.