Just over a month ago we were shocked and saddened to find out that cult-favorite Rdio was being acquired by Pandora for $75 million, and would ultimately shut down. Today, we were met with a healthy dose of reality as we saw the service officially close its doors just minutes ago.
While it was never my go-to streaming service, Rdio had a special place in my heart and held on to a sort of cult-like following through a slick minimalist interface and a bevy of features that were utilized and improved upon over time by other services.
As good as the service was at times, the fall was inevitable.
The paid subscription model wasn’t one that could compete with upstart Spotify, and its free ad-supported tier. The company also seemed unwilling to adapt to this new pricing strategy a move which can probably be tied to in-fighting and a clear lack of marketing direction after the departure of CEO Drew Larner in 2013. Larner’s exit led to inner turmoil that saw former Amazon executive Anthony Bay take over as CEO, promptly lay off nearly a third of the workforce and trade out marketing leads about as often as it filed quarterly earnings reports.
Eventually Rdio settled on a free tier and pivoted to become a terrestrial radio company in a last-ditch effort to acquire new users, but it was too late.
The damage had been done. Spotify was now a giant in the industry and Rdio was losing more than $2 million a month without a clear plan on how to get things back on track.
A lack of focus and no real sense of urgency to grow a userbase that could compete with the burgeoning juggernaut that was Spotify were the sins that killed the service.
Silicon Valley doesn’t cry for its fallen soldiers, and in a year Rdio will be mostly forgotten.
We can only hope that some of its features live on and that the acquired talent will help bring some of what we loved about Rdio into future versions of Pandora.
➤ Goodbye… for now. [Rdio]