Reports that Rdio is launching a “new” ad-supported tier later this year are puzzling, given that in January 2014, it went free on the web in the US with “in-stream messaging” (Bulletin, 17-Jan-14). Still, it does seem that more plans are afoot, as revealed by radio firm Cumulus Media in its quarterly earnings call this week, following its acquisition of a 15-20% stake in Rdio last September. “A new product launch is coming this summer that will focus on providing a free ad-supported option for consumers to enjoy the platform,” Cumulus chairman and CEO Lewis Dickey told analysts. “This will make it a level playing field in terms of the offering of Spotify or Pandora. This is a necessity to be competitive in the US market. Given that the Rdio platform is generally deemed to have one of the best user experiences in the industry, we are excited about this opportunity for the business.” Dickey also suggested that Rdio will finally reveal some stats on its user base. “Rdio is not sharing those publicly until they roll out the free ad-supported service. So that’ll be in the back half of the year.”

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