Music streamer Rdio is betting that a new partnership with terrestrial radio giant Cumulus Media could convince older classic rock and country music fans to consider signing up for a streaming subscription. In a new feature called Rdio Live, Variety reports that 470 U.S. radio stations will be added to the streaming music service. The feeds, which will bring popular terrestrial stations like PLJ in New York, KLOS in LA and WLS in Chicago online, are expected to launch on the service by the middle of August.
The live radio feeds will give Rdio users full capability to listen along, add favorite songs to their library, and navigate from an artist heard on the radio shows to their full catalog on the service. The feed will mirror each station’s live radio broadcast, including DJs and ads. Nashville country radio station Nash Icon has already launched on the service.
“It’s a really unique user proposition and a great experience,” said Cumulus CEO Lee Dickey in an earnings call, according to Variety.
The new collaboration linking the music streaming service with live radio is a similar proposition to Apple Music’s Beats 1, a live, worldwide radio station baked into Apple’s new service. The advantage of this partnership over Beats 1, though, is in its linking with well-established, regional terrestrial radio stations. Cumulus Media claims its radio stations reach 150 million listeners, according to Billboard.
Further, Cumulus now has a significant stake in Rdio. The company invested $75 million for partial ownership of Rdio, and it has plans to promote the partnership on its stations and assist with ad sales.
Rdio is hoping that the deal will bring some of Cumulus’ terrestrial radio listeners on board, many of whom likely aren’t yet streaming music subscribers, accessing a whole new pool of potential subscribers. Whether these listeners can be convinced, or not, it’s an interesting new strategy for the music streamer which lags significantly behind top competitors like Apple Music and Spotify when it comes to subscribers and overall awareness.
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