After a transition period, Larner, who has been CEO of San Francisco-based Rdio since 2009, will stay on as executive chairman, he told Bloomberg.
Rdio, which offers music subscriptions and started a video service in April, needs a leader with experience expanding startups to a broad base, Larner said. Since closely held Rdio began a U.S. advertising campaign at the end of 2012, there has been an eightfold increase in the number of new users of Rdio’s music service, he said.
Rdio and its app allows users to instantly listen on demand to just about any song in existence (20 million). It relies heavily on a social component via Facebook, Twitter and others. Rdio also offers many curated music channels.
“Momentum from last year has been tremendous,” Larner said. “The best person to take this to the next level, it’s probably someone with a different skill set. I’m a business guy and a deal guy. The next stage of the company is about building an enormous user and subscription base, and there are people out there better at that than I am.”
Korn/Ferry International is managing the executive search process, Larner said, adding that he has interviewed several candidates in the past couple of weeks. Janus Friis, the billionaire co-founder of Skype, is majority owner of Rdio and remains closely involved in the business, he said.
Larner has worked for Friis for more than a decade, and they have plans for another startup in San Francisco after the Rdio transition is complete, Larner told Bloomberg.