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Music Service Rdio to Get Live Radio Feeds From Cumulus This Month

Streaming music service Rdio is about to integrate live radio feeds from Cumulus Media, owner of 470 radio stations across the U.S., with a new feature called Rdio Live. Feeds from Cumulus stations are scheduled to go live on Rdio by mid-August, said Cumulus CEO Lee Dickey during his company’s recent Q2 earnings call.

Rdio began to test live radio streams from Cumulus in recent weeks. One of the stations that is already live on the service is Nashville’s country-focused 95.5 Nash Icon. The station’s live feed comes complete with DJ banter, on-air jingles and ads. It is fully integrated into Rdio’s user interface, allowing users to add any song played on air to their favorites, or explore the full catalog of an artist they discovered through the live stream, and then launch into on-demand playback of an entire album.

“It’s a really unique user proposition and a great experience,”  said Dickey during the earnings call, adding: “That will roll out with all of our stations mid-month.” Some of those stations include 95.5 PLJ in New York, 95.5 KLOS in Los Angeles and 94.7 WLS in Chicago.

Cumulus acquired a $75 million stake in Rdio 2013, and has long planned to more tightly integrate Rdio with its on-air programming. The company plans to ramp up promotion for Rdio as Rdio Live is being unveiled.

The launch of Rdio Live comes at an interesting time: Apple put a big emphasis on its Beats1 live radio station when it unveiled Apple Music in June. Spotify and other music subscription services have also doubled down on curated listening experiences like personalized playlists, with the goal to make subscription music services with their 30 million-plus songs less intimidating, and allow users to just lean back and listen.

Rdio Live is interesting in part because Cumulus-owned stations cater to an audience that’s still largely untapped by services like Spotify and Apple Music. However, it’s unclear whether this is enough for Rdio to survive in an increasingly competitive market that’s dominated by Spotify with its 20 million paying subscribers and Apple with its huge marketing muscle.

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