Rdio’s tie-up with terrestrial radio operator Cumulus Media promises to be a transformative deal for the streaming music service, according to comments made by Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey during that company’s first-quarter earnings call April 30. Cumulus, which received a minority ownership stake in Rdio’s parent company Pulser Media under the terms of a September 2013 partnership, plans to make Rdio’s service its distribution channel for “all our local brands and nationally syndicated content,” Dickey said.
The arrangement will lead to a new iteration of Rdio this summer, which will include a free, ad-supported streaming music service, according to Dickey. “This will make it a level playing field in terms of the offerings of Spotify or Pandora,” he said. “This is a necessity to be competitive in the U.S. market.” The first version of its free, ad-supported service appeared in January.
In addition, the two companies are “in discussions” to include non-music programming, including content from properties Cumulus acquired when it paid $260 million for the Dial Global radio network -- since rebranded as Westwood One -- last year. That could include podcasts, content from morning shows, sports and traffic, he said.