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April 2013 - Music Connection

Adam Rabinovitz

Director of Artist Relations, Rdio

Years with Company: Less than one year



Clients: Bad Religion, Jim James (My Morning

Jacket), Snoop Dogg (aka Snoop Lion), Questlove

(the Roots), Brendan Benson (Raconteurs),

of Montreal, Scissor Sisters, Aaron Gillespie

(Underoath), Chromeo, Y La Bamba, Ra Ra

Riot, The Hush Sound, Best Coast

BACKGROUND: If streaming services are the

future of music consumption, Rdio (pronounced

ARGH-dee-oh) is poised to lead the

pack. Offering a one-week complimentary trial

in the US, the subscription program entices

listeners with an unlimited buffet of ad-free,

full-length albums they can access via PC,

Android, Blackberry, Nook or iPad. Adam Rabinovitz

was hired last October to help content

creators jump aboard.

From Physical Stores

to Digital Realms:

I started as a record store clerk on Martha’s

Vineyard. From there, I became a music director

at a radio station, WEOS, in upstate New York

and then a radio promoter in Boston at Planetary

Group. I was there for two-and-a-half to three

years and then got into digital distribution, the

first incarnation [of which was] I

then went into artist management and music

marketing in New York. Following that, I had an

eight-year stint at a company called IODA in San

Francisco, which was the biggest global distributor

of music and film.

New Opportunity:

Rdio officially launched in early August of 2010.

That’s when they came out of beta, so they were

approximately two years out before I came on

board. They found me, but I’m an active user

and knew some of the people over here. This is

one of the more exciting opportunities I’ve seen.

Perfect Fit:

[What made me a good fit was] my knowledge of

the music space and having been in digital distribution

before and post-Napster. During my time

at IODA, I was heading the client relations team

and working with a number of artists and record

labels around the world, knowing what their

needs are and what their questions were, even

before streaming and services like Rdio were

in the marketplace. Managing a team and the

ability to work with all the different products out

there was a great window to where the industry

was going. I know a lot of artists and it’s about

the ability to work with and talk to artists on their

terms about these new opportunities.

Direct to Artists:

I interface with the management community

and artists directly, integrating the product we

launched into the day-to-day efforts of artists. I’m

really focusing on building bridges with the artist /

management community.

It’s as much direct to artist managers as it is

to artists.

Getting On Board:

Artists should visit,

which includes information both on the program

and how to sign up. The only requirements are

that they actively use Rdio and have music

available on the service. The application process

takes less than five minutes; it’s easy and artistfriendly.

Upon sign-up, we provide information

on how to use the program, with examples of

“Artists are using this program

to have a new type of

conversation with their fans.”

other artists and what they’re doing. We have

a monthly newsletter we share in-site and do

educational exercises around what successes

have occurred.

Get Paid Directly:

We have deals with all the major labels and all

the independent companies, as well as aggregators,

so there are a lot of paths to getting your

music on the service. The fee associated with

the program is $10 per subscriber. And the artist

program does not in any way affect the existing

payment structures with labels and publishers.

This is a direct-to-artist payment and we are the

only service that has a direct-to-artist function as

far as the payment scheme is concerned.

Revenue Enhancement:

[Rdio is] a complementary opportunity that’s a

way to supplement existing revenue streams.

It’s difficult to make a living as a musician and

we believe artists deserve to be paid, so we’ve

created this opportunity to create revenue

based on doing what they do naturally—connecting

with their fans.


Our artist profiles display what artists are listening

to, the music they’re sharing, the playlists

they’re making. It’s about curating a collection.

It’s about socially sharing that collection through

email, Facebook or Twitter.

It’s a unique product that allows the user to

curate and not just make playlists. It’s important

to acknowledge that it’s also about an album collection

and having an ability to share that.

The Rdio Difference:

We’re a music discovery opportunity as much

as a music service. We have changed the way

consumers are able to discover music and the

way they’re able to share music. Rdio has been

a leader in this space since the moment we

—ANDY —Andy KAUFMANN Kaufmann

launched. The founders of the

company also founded Skype,

so a lot of the lessons they

learned during that experience

have applied to this product.

It’s about the ability to push

music discovery in a way that

the consumer benefits and

is comfortable with. We have

been a leader from day one on

these innovations.

World Party:

This is a global company.

We’re live in 17 territories

around the world, including

Australia, the UK, Germany

and France. And I anticipate a

lot of growth in Europe, Asia

and potentially South America

soon. When you look at the

concept of music discovery

and open that up on a global

scale, that’s exciting.

Every day, we’re seeing

the results of people discovering

music from regions they

wouldn’t have had access to

five or 10 years ago. You walk

into a record store and it’s got

a limited amount of shelf. That

doesn’t apply in this case. It’s

more about how much time

you have to consume and

who’s your guide.

Share Anything:

One of the exciting aspects of

this program is that the sharing

of music via Rdio and the artist program is not

limited to the artist’s music. Whether it’s Brett

Gurewitz of Bad Religion and Epitaph Records

talking via his artist program links about people’s

favorite Ramones records or posting that he

loves a specific Van Morrison record on a certain

day of the week is as exciting as promoting the

new Bad Religion record. Artists are using this

program to have a new type of conversation with

their fans and a new way to engage people.

Critical Mass:

We’re in a place now where the average

consumer, as well as the music industry, understands

the value proposition of streaming.

It’s about how you use it intelligently and how

you differentiate yourself. And via this program

we’re able to offer that opportunity, both to big

and small artists. There were misconceptions

about the value proposition around streaming,

but I think we’ve moved past that. There was

a point where labels were afraid of iTunes and

eMusic and look where we are now.

Follow Me:

We also have an influencer program, where

we’ve got brands, athletes and celebrities. The

value proposition becomes––who do I want to

follow? If you don’t follow anyone on Twitter, it’s

a relatively useless product. I can wake up and

look at what my friend in Boston is listening to. It

drives my behavior at something I might not have

thought about otherwise.

Standing Behind Artists:

Artists need to get paid in order to keep making

music. Rdio, as a company, is committed to that.

The program we’ve launched is a testament to

that. I hope to see more of that coming from the

industry as a whole. And I’m proud to be at a

company that sees it that way.

22 April 2013

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