The people behind Skype are racing to corner the US online music market with Rdio, an on-demand streaming service accessed either by a desktop app, through your browser or your mobile phone.
Sound awfully familiar? Spotify has conquered the European streaming market, but has held back from attempting to break America. Rdio looks much like Spotify, complete with mobile apps, offline caching, Facebook and Twitter sharing, and social playlists.
Rdio will offer the option of downloading songs for $1 or albums for $10, but it's not yet clear whether this is a direct sale or a link to a partner service such as 7digital, Spotify's partner.
A music service seems like an odd direction for Skype to take, but the people involved have form in this area: Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis also started peer-to-peer file sharing site Kazaa. You know, the one where you stole all those hooky MP3s by Avril Lavigne, Eminem and tATu in 2002 -- remember them?
Rdio is currently in beta in the US only, but according to a blog post will roll out to other parts of the world soon. Deals are in place with EMI, Sony, Universal, Warner and assorted indie labels. If Rdio can beat Spotify to the US, it could steal the Swedish streaming service's thunder in the world's biggest music market. The race is on...