South by Southwest

Streaming music service Rdio aims for global, and mobile

Streaming music: More noise than competition?
Streaming music: More noise than competition?

There's no shortage of music streaming services these days, but Rdio's CEO Anthony Bay doesn't seem worried.

"There's a lot of noise, not really competition," Bay said in an interview with CNBC at South by Southwest Interactive. "There's about three big players."

Rdio's immediate competitor are other streaming music services like Spotify and Beats. But it's also up against big tech companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and even Samsung, all of which have launched their own streaming services in the last two years.

Bay said that while there's definitely competition from the bigger players, there's no big threat from the smaller free-music streaming services because licensing limitations will restrain their growth.

But Rdio, which offers a free service and a subscription service for $9.99 per month, is focusing on competing on a much larger scale.

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Anthony Bay, chief executive officer of Rdio Inc.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

"There's only about three companies offering this kind of service on a global basis, so in that category, it's our goal to be the best," he said. "A lot of our emphasis is on the global market."

While the U.S. is Rdio's number one market—followed by Canada and Brazil—the company sees big opportunities elsewhere. The key to global expansion is the same area much of tech is looking at: Mobile use.

"The primary thing people use to listen to music is becoming more and more their smartphones," he said.

But growing globally won't be easy. Chief competitor Spotify, which has 6 million paid users and over 24 million active users (those who have used the service within last 30 days), has been putting the pressure on Rdio.

Spotify recently announced the acquisition of The Echo Nest, which uses data to help create music recommendations for streaming sites. Rdio, which also used the company, will discontinue the arrangement because it doesn't want to share its data with competitors.

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"As far as we are concerned, they were a good partner, but we have other good partners and we'll move on," Bay said. "We, probably like most people, have multiple sources of data that we use. So we will stop using that source of data and use other sources."

By CNBC's Cadie Thompson. Follow her on Twitter @CadieThompson.