Rdio to Launch Free, Ad-Supported Music Service This Year

Music service Rdio is planning a free, ad-supported offering to launch later this year. The service is also expected to add more non-music content and morning shows from Cumulus, which became a significant investor in Rdio last year. Some of that may include sports and talk show content from WestWood One, which Cumulus recently acquired. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey introduced the new ad-supported model during a Q1 earnings call earlier this week.

“Rdio has slowly been moving toward offering free content over the last few months, introducing free and ad-supported streaming on the Web as well as a more Pandora-like free streaming experience on mobile devices,” reports GigaOM. “But the plans previewed by Dickey this week seem to go a lot further, and apparently also include adding a lot of new content to the service — a step that could ultimately alter what Rdio is all about, and set it apart from competitors like Spotify.”

Dickey’s mobile strategy aims to turn Rdio into a digital destination for Cumulus content.

“Cumulus teamed up with Rdio last September, and at the time promised to promote Rdio through its terrestrial radio network and help the service to sell advertising,” notes the article.