Sonora Music and Google™'s Orkut
Sonora by Terra Networks, built with LabOne Systems’ technology, is the most successful online music destination and music store in Latin America and Southern Europe, leading in digital music at those markets and rivaling the functionality of Apple’s iTunes, Rhapsody and other worldwide players. Two years after launching, Sonora kept growing continuously, putting the service in a position to fend off competitors while inventing new ways to accelerate its growth rate.
The way people use the Web has changed tremendously over the past few years. More and more people prefer to consume content in the context of walled-garden social networking services such as Facebook or Orkut (the leading social network in Brazil, owned by Google). Sonora, already a huge success on the Web with more than 200,000 paying subscribers, had to evolve in that direction. Terra Networks identified a huge opportunity to bring Sonora’s content to a large new audience in record time.
Social media users are extremely active online, spending many hours communicating and sharing information and content with friends. Music preferences and recommendations are among the most shared kinds of content. Sonora wanted to leverage and monetize those social interactions by allowing users to purchase recommended and shared songs immediately. Part of the challenge was deciding what social networking service to leverage first.
Sonora chose Orkut as the first service for its “social colonization” efforts, because of its popularity in Brazil– greater than Facebook or MySpace. Brazil is also where Sonora has its largest audience, and Orkut’s OpenSocial APIs can be easily ported to other services for future development. LabOne, as one of Google’s key partners for OpenSocial development in Latin America, reinvented Sonora by integrating the music service into Orkut’s social experience.
Sonora, within Orkut, allows users to select their favorite artists, songs and albums, and share those preferences and recommendations with their friends in real time. Most importantly, the social application uses the “wisdom of crowds” concept to make recommendations and rank songs and artists either by all users or by a person’s private group of friends. Sonora’s Orkut application allows users to quickly create their own private “music universes.” Influential users can add their ratings and share playlists with their circle of friends, turning themselves into actual Sonora editors or DJs. Users can base their song purchases on relevant recommendations from people close to them, with the same background and tastes.
Sonora benefited enormously from the network effects created by its social application, both in terms of new user acquisition and in greater quality on its ratings and recommendations. The concept is now being extended to other platforms with social features, including Facebook and an iPhone native application.
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Sonora™'s social application integrated with Orkut™'s user profile page
Comparing music preferences between friends using Google™'s Open Social
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