Rdio CEO Larner stepping down, replacement search underway


Drew Larner is stepping down as CEO of streaming music services provider Rdio, Bloomberg reports. Larner is currently spearheading a search for his successor, and he plans to transition to the role of executive chairman once the new CEO is installed.

Rdio offers unlimited, on-demand streaming access to more than 20 million songs across the desktop and mobile platforms, with subscriptions starting at $4.99 per month. The company kicked off a nationwide advertising campaign in late 2012 and has since enjoyed an eightfold increase in new users, Larner told Bloomberg, although he declined to reveal specific subscriber numbers.

Larner said Rdio needs a new leader with experience expanding startups to a broad base that also can drive efforts to combine the firm's core music services with its fledgling Vdio streaming video initiative. "Momentum from last year has been tremendous," he said. "The best person to take this to the next level, it's probably someone with a different skill set. I'm a business guy and a deal guy. The next stage of the company is about building an enormous user and subscription base, and there are people out there better at that than I am."

Entrepreneurs Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis--who previously teamed for peer-to-peer file sharing effort Kazaa and VoIP service Skype--founded Rdio in 2010. Larner has worked for Friis for more than a decade, and he said they have plans for another San Francisco-based startup after completing Rdio's CEO search. "Companies often outgrow their founding executive teams," Larner said. "Those who get the company off the ground aren't always the best at growing the company in the second stage into a mass-market product."

Rdio's new CEO must navigate an increasingly completive and complex streaming music marketplace. In addition to other dedicated digital music providers like Spotify and Pandora Media, Rdio must grapple with the new Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play Music All Access, which offers Android device owners personalized recommendations, featured content and music tailored to their collections and previous listening behavior. Insiders say Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) also is poised to roll out its own iRadio streaming effort.

For more:
- read this Bloomberg article

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