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Rdio hopes its new, low-cost Select plan will convince you to pay for streaming music

Could this threaten Spotify and Pandora's dominance?


AJ Dellinger


Posted on May 14, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 8:17 pm CDT

Instead of fighting at the current punching weight for streaming music, Rdio is hoping to headline a new class of streaming options with a low-cost mobile subscription.

For $3.99 a month, users of the new Rdio Select service will be able to listen to ad-free, Pandora-style streaming stations with unlimited skips. Subscribers will also be able to download and keep 25 songs that can be streamed on demand, as well as listen to playlists curated by various artists.

Rdio CEO Anthony Bay told BuzzFeed that the 25 song threshold “is more than most users download in a day, so we feel it’s enough.”

Rdio sits firmly in the second tier of streaming music options, behind the likes of Spotify and Pandora. As Apple prepares to launch a streaming service of its own—potentially with a lower price point than the current industry standard of $9.99—Rdio is trying to carve out a niche before it’s further pressed by the biggest names in the business.

The major problem facing streaming services at the moment isn’t necessarily that people think they’re paying too much; it’s that many people aren’t willing to pay at all. According to Spotify’s own information, about 15 million of its more than 60 million active users are paid subscribers. That’s less than 25 percent of its user base.

Record labels have become increasingly more vocal about music streaming over the past few years, with many major labels expressing their disenchantment with free streaming and pushing hard for more paid subscriptions.

“I equate ‘free’ with the decline of the music business,” Sony’s music chief Doug Morris told Hits Daily Double in March. “[I]n general, free is death.”

In February, Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge told Re/code, “Ad-funded on-demand is not going to sustain the entire ecosystem of the creators as well as the investors.”

Rdio Select may be able to break new ground for streaming music with a price point low enough to appeal to people who want free, ad-supported offerings. Rdio’s current free service offers unlimited streaming with interspersed ads on the desktop and free stations with limited skips on mobile.

Rdio is offering a free 60-day trial of Rdio Select to users in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa. The app is available for iOS and Android.

H/T Buzzfeed | Photo via Rdio

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*First Published: May 14, 2015, 1:10 pm CDT