On Wednesday, the companies announced their expansion into 20 new countries, including a large chunk of Latin America. Over the past few years, streaming music services have enjoyed a boom in demand in the United States. But due to licensing constraints, the best-established programs had not been available in Costa Rica. The most popular service, Pandora Radio, still only serves its 70 million users in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.
Spotify offers an ad-supported, free model and a premium subscription for desktop streaming. Rdio will give new users “metered access to the web version of Rdio for six months and a 14-day mobile trial,” according to The Verge.
The two companies – Rdio to a lesser extent – are considered two of the biggest players in the increasingly crowded world of streaming music services. Apple and Google each have launched their own streaming music programs though neither have the service available in Costa Rica.
Spotify, with 24 million users and six million paying subscribers, is now available in 55 countries. Rdio is available in 51 countries. However, Rdio recently laid off some of its employees and has never released its number of users. But the service does have one statistic in its favor – the majority of Rdio’s growth is coming from outside the United States.
In addition to its international expansion, Spotify made two other big statements. The Swedish company will improve the features available for free streaming on mobile and tablet devices (a premium subscription is also available). The music service also is now carrying the catalog of Led Zeppelin. The legendary rock band signed an exclusive deal with Spotify, after previously refusing to license its music to streaming services.
According to the New York Times, Led Zeppelin representatives had been negotiating a deal since at least January and Spotify beat out Rdio and other smaller programs for the musical rights of one of rock’s most celebrated groups.
The expansion, the new mobile and tablet service, and the Led Zeppelin deal all should help the rapidly-growing company compete with Pandora.
“Today we’re giving people the best free music experience in the history of the smartphone and the tablet,” Daniel Ek, Spotify’s CEO and founder, wrote in a statement.
Rdio’s expansion makes it the second largest music streaming service in terms of global coverage, The Verge wrote.
The two sites moved into many of the same markets in Latin America and Europe, and first-time subscribers can experiment with both services.
Which one should Costa Rican users choose? Reviews seem to favor Rdio for interface and functionality, but prefer Spotify for its convenient free and paid subscription models and its massive catalogue (If you’re a Led Zeppelin fan, obviously you’re going to choose Spotify).
Try out both sites here:
Spotify – www.spotify.com
New countries for Spotify: Bolivia, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Malta, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Slovakia, Uruguay
Rdio – www.rdio.com
New countries for Rdio: Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Matt Levin is a correspondent for The Tico Times