Rdio, Spotify Race To Launch In LatAm, Germany, Asia

Music subscription services are about to face off on the global stage. Rdio, kickstarted by Skype’s founders, is embarking on the international expansion its CEO told paidContent about in February – just as Spotify plans expanding in to similar areas.

Rdio is adding Brazil to the U.S. and Canada through a co-branding partnership with the ISP and telco Oi that will deliver “Oi Rdio” to Oi’s customers and non-customers alike. Germany and Australia are next on the list for expansion in early 2012.

Spotify, too, is expanding operations in to Asia, Germany, Austria, Swizterland, Australia and New Zealand, current job openings suggest.

“We have aims to be a global service,” CEO Drew Larner told paidContent in February 2011. “Western Europe, Asia, South America over the course of the next couple of quarters.”

Spotify has built up a market-leading share of the nascent music subscription segment in eight European/Scandinavian countries and has finally launched on Rdio’s home U.S. patch this summer, following Rdio’s own launch in August 2010.

Of all the countries Spotify operates in, Germany is not one. But it looks like that is about to change. Spotify is hiring for label relations executives to manage partnerships in Germany, Switzerland and Austria as well as in Australia and New Zealand. That puts Rdio and Spotify on a New Year collision course in at least two new territories.

Spotify is also hiring business and personnel staff to work on the Singapore and Hong Kong markets, where we have expected its expansion since Hutchison Whampoa’s investment foundation invested in Spotify back in 2009. China, where much digital music is illegally obtained but where domestic legal services have recently been launched, is notable by its absence in Spotify’s current hiring.

In Brazil, Oi Rdio users will get a one-week free trial, as opposed to an ongoing free music allowance, and premium prices thereafter of R$8.90 ($5.18) for web access and R$14.90 ($8.60) for additional mobile access.

Rdio has not disclosed its user base.

Unlimited-music subscription is a segment home to a growing number of service providers, all hoping to make good on labels’ increasing dissatisfaction with how the a la carte consumption model operated by iTunes Store has flatlined.

It is a segment with early leaders in their original markets (Spotify in Europe, Rhapsody in the States) who are now trying to expand quickly and which could see shake-out but which also be home to several competing providers.