By Casey Newton
Rdio is seeking bankruptcy protection and plans to wind down its service. Pandora is acquiring its intellectual property and some of its employees. Among them are Becherer, who will become vice president of the company’s consumer-facing products, and a majority of the product and engineering team. But Rdio’s apps will soon stop working — the exact timing depends on when the deal closes — and its modest subscriber base will have to do its music streaming elsewhere.
In interviews with current and former employees, a picture emerges of a company that developed an excellent product but faltered when it came to marketing and distributing it. Early as it was to the United States, Rdio was born in the shadow of Spotify, a cunning and well-financed competitor that excelled at generating buzz — and using that buzz to acquire paid subscribers. As streaming music became a playground for giants, Rdio turned to a terrestrial radio company in a last-ditch effort to grow the user base. Ultimately, executives decided that Rdio’s only future lay in becoming part of an internet-based platform — even if it meant disassembling the service they had been building for more than five years.