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Rdio is taking a leaf out of Apple’s book today with the news that the music-streaming service is now embracing live radio too.
However, Rdio isn’t launching its own station à la Beats 1. No, it’s integrating with more than 500 existing broadcast networks from across the United States.
Featuring stations such as LA’s 95.5 KLOS, Nashville’s 95.5 NASH Icon, New York’s NASH FM 94.7, and San Francisco’s KFOG, the new live radio offering extends beyond simple broadcasts and will sport deeper integrations with some of the stations.
For example, when you hear a song you like through a live radio station, you can save the song as a favorite, share it through your social networks, build a customized Rdio station from that track, or look up more songs from the artist in question. Moreover, paid Rdio subscribers on a $4 or $10 monthly plan (or those on a free trial) can download a specific song for offline access.
Launched in 2010 by Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, Rdio has been facing stiff competition in the music-streaming realm, with Spotify going strong and Apple Music recently entering the fray.
With Beats 1, Apple did bring a genuinely interesting and useful differentiator to the mix — a station with humans (“music experts”) at the desk. Now, Rdio is taking a fairly unique direction itself, and it’s a move that sees the platform bridge many musical divides.
Rdio already offers the on-demand element familiar to many users, alongside stations curated by labels and “influencers” (as well as algorithms). Now it has aggregated actual live radio stations from across the country and made them work as part of the Rdio platform.
Besides music, Rdio will also include sports broadcasts through local stations and Westwood One, and the company says it plans to “enhance” its sports content in the future by introducing round-the-clock stations covering specific events, such as the Kentucky Derby.
It also throws up some interesting monetization options for Rdio — advertisers across the U.S. now have an additional avenue to target listeners, though it’s not clear yet how local advertisers could tap a Rdio audience that spans from coast to coast.
While this is a U.S.-only affair for now, we’re told that a “number of international markets served by Rdio” will receive the feature later this year. And more stations will be added in the U.S., too.
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