Internet radio service Rdio has launched (10/3) its free music service in the US, Canada, and Australia. Stemming from a deal with Cumulus Media last month, the service will now offer a subscription-free way to listen to music, aiming at competitors such as Spotify and Pandora.
For now, the app that works on Apple and Android devices won’t play ads between the songs that are randomly picked based on genres, artists, songs or albums.
The company hopes nonpaying listeners will sign up for a $10-a-month subscription that lets users buy songs and select individual songs, albums, genres, or artists, while free users will be have to put up with a randomized music discovery playlist similar to Pandora’s Music Genome Project.
On the web, Rdio’s radio player will have ads that are sold by Cumulus. Cumulus announced it was taking a stake in Rdio parent Pulser Media last month. Cumulus will give Rdio broad access to its programming and promote Rdio on its stations, just like iHeartRadio and CCME. Rdio will have the ability to use chunks of Cumulus programming and promos on its own streams. The deal between Rdio and Cumulus is a trade, with no cash changing hands. The value of Cumulus’s content and services is estimated at more than $100 million.
Cumulus will also sell advertising for a free version of the service in the US. Rdio, which launched in 2010 and costs $5 to $10 a month, is available in 31 markets around the world. It lets subscribers listen to millions of songs, build playlists and interact with other users. Subscribers have instant access to listen to any song they please. Cumulus will draw on its stations and syndicated shows to create playlists and other programs for Rdio users, stripping out localized details like traffic and weather.