Rdio signs deal with UK music rights-holders, as it cranks up its European expansion

Rdio signs deal with UK music rights-holders, as it cranks up its European expansion

Digital music subscription service Rdio just took one small step closer towards launching in the UK, after PRS for Music, the organisation that represents the rights of 85,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK, announced a licensing agreement with the music streaming service.

Launched in 2010 in San Francisco by Janus Friis, who also co-founded Skype, Rdio is currently available in the US, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal and Denmark, but this latest deal will enable PRS to rake in royalties whenever UK artists’ music are accessed via Rdio in Europe.

PRS for Music is a not-for-profit organisation it ensures creators are paid whenever their music is played, performed or reproduced. Whilst this announcement merely allows the licensing of music from UK rights-holders, and doesn’t directly mean that Rdio is launching soon in the country, the UK will be near the top of its launch-list, and it’s likely that this deal will herald some form of announcement in the coming months, perhaps sooner.

“Rdio’s service is more good news for the UK’s digital music users and creators alike,” says Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive of PRS for Music. “Rdio’s entry into the market provides more choice for consumers and is a vote of confidence in the growing licensed digital sector.”

Rdio: A welcome addition?

If, or perhaps when, the UK launch does come to fruition, this will be yet another addition to the licensed music-streaming space, with the likes of Spotify and Deezer already making strides there. But it will likely have to pull something different out of its bag of tricks to gain traction in an already competitive market, however partnerships with mobile operators is one likely route to gain a foothold in the first instance.

As it stands, Rdio offers around 15 million licensed tracks from all the major record labels and thousands of independent labels, with the music made available in a similar way to Spotify and Deezer, with access across all the usual mobile devices and through a Web browser. It’s also built on a similar pricing model, with €4.99 a month for Web only and €9.99 a month for unlimited access (including offline) on all devices.

“Working with PRS for Music further emphasizes Rdio’s commitment to the global music community,” says Scott Bagby, VP of Strategic & International Partnerships at Rdio. “We are very excited to bring our service to even more countries, and because Rdio is socially powered, music fans will discover local and international artists across the world.”

So, no hint from this when the UK launch will happen, but it will likely be sooner rather than later.

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