It appears as if Telus, the Canadian based telecom giant, is getting serious about offering its customers a quality music subscription service offering. So serious that, starting today, Rdio became the sole provider of its subscription music services. To promote the new service Telus will be giving away free subscriptions to select new and existing subscribers.
The spotlight has been shining on Rdio recently, as music subscription service models are beginning to take a foothold in the mainstream. With the emergence of Spotify on this side of the pond (albeit only in the US), Rdio has taken full advantage of being one of the few to operate in Canada. A prior partnership with Telus was announced last month that enabled Telus subscribers to subscribe to Rdio via their existing mobile account. Furthering that partnership is a promotion that provides new or renewing Telus subscribers who purchase a Rdio-supported smartphone and data plan with a free, six-month subscription to Rdio. The promotion is good from now until October.
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Telus had originally planned to adopt Rdio as the sole music subscription service provider later this month, but according to Brent Johnston, Vice President of Mobility Solutions, Telus was able to offer it to its subscribers weeks ahead of schedule.
“With the beginning of our back-to-school campaign, we’ve amped it up considerably…pardon the pun,” Johnston told us.
As Rdio works with Telus in delivering music to its subscribers, it begs the question: Does Telus think the future is in streaming music services rather than owning music outright? Johnston offered his own take on the matter.
“Given the new services like Rdio, given the inherent social capabilities that they’re driving and given the price points that they’re now coming to at ten dollars a month, I think that we are at the beginning of a new era perhaps of consumer usage and ownership of music,” Johnston suggested. “Is it something that you want to have squirrelled away on your hard drive somewhere or is it a living, breathing collection that is evergreen and refreshing itself on a daily, weekly, monthly basis that you have access to whenever — and wherever — you would like? It really speaks to the cloud as the next wave of mobile technology.”
Telus has had its own in-house music service, but Johnston admits that it wasn’t exactly the best offering n the market.
“We tried to do the music thing and — big surprise — carriers didn’t do music very well,” Johnston admitted. “The in-house capability that most of the carriers have invested over the years are largely out of date and obsolete. A pure-play, third-party like Rdio updating their music player every couple of weeks…they continue to innovate and add new functionality and new capability in a very focused and targeted way in this segment, unlike any carrier was ever able to or could ever do. That sort of puts the nail in the coffin for in-house services from carriers and that you do really need to adopt what we like to call a ‘best of the Internet’ type strategy.”
This “best of the Internet” strategy may open the doors for other third-party developers and services to reach similar partnerships with Telus. Certainly, the one it has reached with Rdio is a great place for the company to start.