Now That Rdio Is Gone, What Are Rivals Doing to Snag Those Free-Floating Customers?

Some have more hustle than others in the pursuit of new customers.

It wasn't long after news broke that Pandora had acquired the long-running and well-liked, if niche, streaming service Rdio that we learned Pandora would also be shutting the service down permanently. Pandora plans to strip Rdio down to the frame and incorporate its guts into a new, on-demand service that they plan to launch in late 2016.

While Rdio never released subscriber numbers, it was long-speculated that the company's paying customer count was far from stratospheric. Regardless of the number, the death of Rdio will leave many thousands of people -- people truly interested in a streaming service they like, regardless of its popularity -- who no longer have a digital jukebox to turn to. Obviously, other streaming services would be interested in that carrion. So what are they doing to secure it for themselves?

Greg Spils, senior director of traffic and demand for Rhapsody, tells Billboard the company has already placed ads against Google searches for its fallen competitor and is seeing an uptick in subscriber counts already.

"I was looking at the numbers and they shot up," says Spils. "My opinion is that those on Rdio are in more of an indie mindset, like us." The company also pointed to a page on its website that instructs converting customers on how to bring their playlists to its service.

Spils estimates that Rdio has left around 100,000 subscribers in the U.S. "up for grabs," which he says may be peanuts to competitors like Spotify (or even newcomer Apple Music), but says "for us it's less peanuts, more like potatoes."

A Spotify representative tells Billboard that they have no plans for any extensive courting of those free-floating potential customers other than a minimal reach-out on social media for their attention. Apple Music did not respond to a request for comment.

The digital music space is as crowded as its ever been, with a new streaming service or digital startup launched seemingly every day. That there are now a relatively large number of music fans out there in open space, where there is no sound, offers an opportunity; as long as they're worth your time.


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