Janus Friis, the billionaire Skype (News - Alert) co-founder who also started a music streaming service known as Rdio Inc., is offering recording artists $10 for each new subscriber they attract. Today in an e-mailed statement, the San Francisco-based company said that Snoop Lion (formerly Snoop Dogg), the Scissor Sisters, A- Trak, Chromeo and Brendan Benson are amongst the first artists joining the Rdio Artist Program.
In order to gain an edge on Spotify Ltd., Pandora (News - Alert) and other bigger music-streaming competitors, Rdio is forging alliances with recording artists. Twitter and Facebook will be the desired platforms wherein the artists’ recommendations on Rdio will appear to give the service a wider audience. Active in all 14 countries where Rdio operates, the program will augment existing licensing deals with labels and distributors for access to music.
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“There is no art without artists,” Friis said. He also mentioned that a change is required for a business that doesn’t reward its most important contributors. He feels that the innovation of the Internet should not be a barrier to the success of music artists, adding that the Internet should allow them to become even more successful.
Launched in August 2010, Rdio competes with London-based Spotify (News - Alert) and Seattle-based Rhapsody International Inc. by offering subscriptions for unlimited music streaming. The service is currently available in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, U.K., France, Sweden, Finland and Norway.
In 2005, Friis and Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom agreed to sell their Skype Web-calling venture for $2.6 billion to San Jose, California- based EBay Inc. The company was sold to Microsoft (News - Alert) Corp. in 2011 for $8.5 billion with a consortium that included Silver Lake (SLR).
Rdio sells monthly subscriptions and offers a limited free service. An unlimited computer-only plan is $4.99, while service on computers and mobile devices is $9.99. The company also offers an unlimited $17.99 family plan with two accounts or $22.99 for three accounts.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman