Spotify rival WiMP has global ambitions, too – now it needs cash

Spotify’s closest Scandinavian competitor says it must seek new investment to join its digital music peers in international expansion this year.

Norwegian Aspiro operates WiMP, a subscription unlimited music service with 350,000 paying customers in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Portugal. Three quarters of the outfit was bought by Scandinavian newspaper publisher Schibsted  in January.

“Aspiro is planning alternative business models in music, which will imply a funding requirement in 2012,” the company said on Thursday, without elaborating.

“Aspiro will launch new music services in Germany, the Netherlands, at least two more European countries and at least one country outside Europe in 2012.”

The company saw Q1 music sales grow 177 percent from last year to 49.3 million SEK ($7.1 million), and is targeting 2012 growth of 80 percent. But Q1 2012 losses almost doubled from last year to 10.7 million SEK ($1.5 million).

Its plans come as larger rivals like Spotify, Deezer and Rdio rapidly launch in to new global markets, and as other competitors like Mog and mSpot become acquisition targets for consumer electronics firms like HP and Samsung.

WiMP is already having the Portugal rug pulled from under it. Portugal Telecom, the telco which provides the service, is ending its relationship, meaning the loss of 40,000 customers.

“We want to focus even more strongly on our own brand WiMP and become less dependent on partners,” a spokesperson tells paidContent.

Some 200,000 of Norway’s 700,000 Canal Digital TV subscribers have activated a bundled subscription to WiMP.

Spotify leads the on-demand music subscription market with three million paying customers from over 10 million active users.