All five new European nations are classified by the World Bank as “high-income” countries, while only Singapore is in that category among the four Asian ones. The rest are considered developing economies. Indonesia is by far the largest with about 250 million people, roughly half in cities, making it the world’s fourth most populous country.
Rdio comes to market ahead of Spotify in Indonesia, Thailand, Croatia and Slovenia. Its larger rival already reaches the Philippines, Singapore, Greece, Slovakia and Cyprus, among a total of 56 countries. Neither service is available in China or India, but Rdio is now available in the next three largest countries, the U.S., Indonesia and Brazil. Rdio acquired shuttered Indian streaming service Dhingana in March; Bay said Rdio will relaunch it under its own brand later this year. Spotify, meanwhile, is planning a Brazil launch.
A study by Jana Mobile released last week revealed that while the streaming music market is closely tied to smartphone penetration in developing Asian countries, the playing field is still highly fragmented. The study found different market leaders in Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Vietnam, with local offerings mostly outpacing Western services; for example, companies that specialized in Bollywood content were the most popular in India.
Rdio said it has added a “local repertoire” of hundreds of thousands of songs from each new territory, via licensing deals with aggregators and other content owners. Bay noted that providing music from these countries also appeals to both to the non-resident market and, more broadly, music enthusiasts’ sense of discovery.
Interest in Southeast Asia is high among streaming services; Spotify launched in the Philippines just six weeks ago via a partnership with Globe Telecom. Local pricing can differ widely from the $10-per-month plans to which U.S. subscribers are accustomed. Spotify Premium, for example, costs 129 Philippine pesos, or about $3, per month. Bay said Rdio’s pricing will be competitive in new territories, especially where Spotify is also in the market.
Four-year-old Rdio has never released subscriber numbers, but is believed to have far fewer than Spotify’s six million-plus worldwide. Both offer unlimited access to large libraries of tens of millions of songs; Rdio may soon begin to differentiate itself partnerships such as its deal with radio operator Cumulus that could add significant amounts of non-music content this summer. It has also struck content and marketing partnerships with local media companies in Brazil and Canada to expand its reach and offerings.
Bay is scheduled to appear in Singapore at the upcoming Music Matters conference, part of the larger All That Matters conference between May 20 and 25. Billboard’s Tokyo bureau chief Rob Schwartz is also due at the event.