Kazaa/Skype creators launch Rdio online music service
Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the entrepreneurs known for creating Kazaa, Skype, & Joost are back in the spotlight with their new startup, Rdio, a subscription-based online music service.
Rdio, a “cloud music service” which is scheduled to debut with a US preview on Thursday, is similar to services like Rhapsody in the sense that it will offer unlimited access to a catalogue of millions of music tracks, all included in a single monthly subscription rate. What sets Rdio apart from the others is the ability to use the service in any web browser, as well as offering apps for use with iPhone & Blackberry smartphones. Rdio will reportedly also soon be available on mobile phones with the Android operating system.
Social networking integration is another feature Rdio is banking on to help gain popularity. The service encourages subscribers to use popular social networking services Twitter and Facebook to share the music they like with their network of friends.
Janus Friis apparently learned a lot from his legal battles over Kazaa. Friis states that he had tried to move Kazaa more in the direction of the new Rdio application, but it was an idea that was ahead of its time. “Kazaa exploded and was used by an extreme number of people. We tried to negotiate some of the things we are doing now with Rdio, but it was obviously way too early.”
We’ll soon see if the time is now right for Rdio. Consumers can expect to pay $4.99 per month for web-only access, and $9.99 for added smartphone access. Pricing is competitive with Rhapsody, who recently cut their monthly subscription rate to $10 per month in response to lackluster subscription rates. It also remains to be seen if Apple has a competing product in the works to replace Lala, the cloud-based music service they recently purchased and then promptly closed down.
Zennstrom & Friis do have plans to form alliances with cable providers and wireless carriers. If they can strike a deal to have Rdio bundled with cable and phone subscriptions, that would definitely give them an edge over the competition and a boost in exposure.
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