Skype founders launch mobile subscription music service
Skype, Kazaa, and Joost creators Janus Friis with Niklas Zennström launched Rdio on Tuesday, aiming to offer an inexpensive way to provide unlimited streaming music from mobile phones. In addition, the service would allow users to save music to their device for offline listening.
The service costs $4.95 per month for desktop-only access, and $9.95 monthly for both desktop and mobile use. The company has about seven million songs in its database, and unlimited streaming. Users can select songs to be synced to their devices for online listening, or download copies of the song to keep at a cost of 99 cents per track.
Deals have been struck with the four major record labels -- EMI Music, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group -- and several independent outfits to bring content to the service.
Rdio uses Facebook and Twitter to discover and introduce users to the music their friends are listening to. This is where the service says it differentiates itself from its counterparts. "The social nature of Rdio means you can discover new songs every time you visit Rdio," CEO Drew Larner said.
Mobile versions of the software are available for Android, Blackberry, and iPhone.
Friis and Zennström's service has now come ahead of Spotify, whose launch here in the US is still up in the air. According to press reports, negotiations with record labels are still ongoing and it says that the service should go live by the end of this year.
That service allows for free listening to its catalog of music via its desktop app, however users would need to register for a premium account to use Spotify on mobile phones or download music for offline listening. The company currently only has licenses to operate in seven European countries.
Rdio is taking another track though, and that is through a completely fee-based service. Such a service seems to be more palatable at least here among the US record labels, which may be the reason why Rdio was able to beat Spotify to the market.