Music Wars: Spotify Heading For Ireland And Oz As Rdio Gears Up In Europe

Two of the subscription-music space’s main players are set to launch in several new markets, as the segment’s many budding exponents race to go global.

  • paidContent understands Spotify is soon to announce its expansion to Ireland. Australian launch will also be announced next week.
  • Meanwhile, competitor Rdio has moved closer to launching in more European countries after gaining a license to play UK artists to users across the continent.


paidContent understands Spotify held talks with Irish ISPs about going to market with a bundled deal like that with Telia which has made it popular in Sweden. But, speaking with paidContent, Eircom’s consumer managing director Stephen Beynon said there will be no Eircom-Spotify deal.

The introduction of new legal music services like Spotify in Ireland, whether through ISPs or not, represents a market maturation of the kind labels have sought. They have sued Irish ISPs since 2008, winning an out-of-court settlement from the largest, Eircom, which committed to warn and disconnect persistent illegal downloaders amongst its customers and to launch its own legal music service.

As of November 2011, a whole quarter of Spotify Premium subscribers in Sweden were acquired through Telia, the Swedish broadband, mobile and telco provider with which Spotify signed a bundling deal in October 2009.

Rdio Free Europe

Spotify, Rdio, Deezer and Rhapsody and other music services are right now launching in to new territories around the world, as they each try to capitalise on labels’ newfound enthusiasm for the subscription-access model as a new source of revenue.

Rdio recently launched in Germany, Spain and Portugal and is set to roll out elsewhere in Europe and farther afield soon. On Thursday, UK royalty collector PRS For Music announced it had granted Rdio a license to play the UK songwriters, performers and publishers PRS represents in the European countries where Rdio aims to operate.

This is just one in a complex patchwork of licenses Rdio and its peers need in order to operate. Several major music publishers have, in fact, pulled out of PRS For Music, leaving operators like Rdio needing to broker several more such deals.

Rdio this month rejected reports it was due to launch in the UK this week, but launch there is nevertheless understood to be imminent.

PRS For Music declined to confirm to paidContent whether Rdio would pay its standard, industry-wide online music license rates, citing commercial confidentiality.