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Rdio Select launch in Europe delayed by rights holders, says CEO

By | Published on Tuesday 16 June 2015


Rdio CEO Anthony Bay has said that his company’s recently launched middle market service Rdio Select will be coming to Europe “probably within the next month”, following delays in licensing negotiations.

As previously reported, Rdio announced its new $3.99 per month package in May. It offers ad-free access to the company’s personalised radio service, plus the option to keep up to 25 tracks downloaded to your phone for offline listening. Audio quality is also higher than with Rdio’s free personalised radio set-up.

Speaking to Music Week, Bay said: “We have not yet launched in Europe, as we are negotiating licenses, but we hope to get that soon, probably within next month, but we are not there yet”.

“The industry has developed its structure around 9.99 and everything new requires more discussions”, he added, explaining the delay in launching Select here. “The market is complex in Europe. It takes longer, which I think is unfortunate for European consumers, because we have a service already available in many places but not in Europe”.

Explaining the need for a cheaper subscription tier – while also accusing Spotify and YouTube’s free options as being “too good” and damaging for the wider streaming industry – Bay compared music services to TV: “If you look at the TV business you have a free to air TV everywhere in the world and pay TV. The majority of the audience is on free TV but when you chose pay TV, there’s different tier pricing. Any subscribers business needs tiers”.

Rdio Select, he said, is aimed at an audience currently not being served by most music streaming services: “This offer is not aimed at people who collect music but rather at people who hear a song and want that song over and over or just a list of hits. So this is made for a pretty broad audience”.

It is very similar to the now defunct in that regard, which also aimed to scoop up exactly that audience before it shut down last year. It will be interesting to see if Rdio Select can be more successful.

Meanwhile, the challenges of freemium and converting free-users to paying subscribers is under the spotlight at an upcoming Music 4.5 event hosted by CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke. He pre-empts the event with some freemium chatter on the 4.5 blog here.