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Pandora buys pieces of Rdio to battle rivals Spotify and Apple Music

There were notable developments in the music streaming space Monday as Pandora revealed it’s buying up parts of Rdio.

On the same day that Rdio filed for bankruptcy, Pandora said it’s gearing up to acquire “several key assets” – read that as technology and talent – of Rdio’s business for $75 million.

The deal is expected to close early next year, with Pandora hoping to use the purchase to offer “an expanded listening experience” toward the end of 2016.

What does that mean? Well, Pandora’s service only gives users access to radio stations – tracks selected using an algorithm based on a user’s music tastes – while Rdio offers on-demand features similar to Spotify and Apple Music that allow users to select any track they like so long as it’s in the database.

With that in mind, Pandora’s service looks to be in for a radical and exciting overhaul, offering its approximately 78 million users the chance to choose tracks on demand. Alongside its existing radio offering, live music promotion is also set to become an important part of Pandora’s service following its recent acquisition of Ticketfly.

Rdio CEO Anthony Bay said Monday that “many members of the Rdio team will continue to shape the future of streaming music,” with Pandora’s purchase taking Rdio’s’s tradition of “great design and innovative engineering” to an even bigger audience.

In a post on its site, Rdio said it’ll soon have more updates on what the deal means for current users, promising that “for the time being the service continues unchanged.”

The message went on: “We thank you for your continued support over the years and look forward to bringing you even better music experiences in the future as part of the Pandora team.”

Cross-platform Rdio, which launched back in 2010, offers a catalog of around 35 million songs and operates in 85 countries. For a while the service gave Spotify a run for its money, offering a steady stream of new features while expanding quickly to new markets. However, in the last 18 months or so Rdio lost ground, and with the giant that is Apple entering the space, the company has finally run out of steam.

For Pandora, the move presents a big opportunity to take on big hitters that include not only Spotify and Apple Music but Google Play Music, too. The pressure is certainly on – Pandora reported an $86 million loss in its most recent quarter, while its “active listeners” count fell by just over a million.

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Trevor Mogg
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