The next step? Launching in the U.K. — a move that could happen as early as next Monday, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans.
Details are scarce but if the launch does go ahead next week, the timing could revolve around an appearance by co-founder Niklas Zennström — most famous as one of the faces behind Skype — on stage at the London Web Summit, a significant new event aimed at the local startup community.
Back in 2009 it was the first foreign territory that the company entered, and the immediate success and high media profile it gained there built up huge buzz that helped it grow massively.
There are plenty of sensible reasons for Rdio to want to make an impact in Britain that aren’t about taking on Spotify, however.
The U.K. market is not always easy for music startups, but it can be a critical one simply because of the sheer volume of consumption. Brits buy more albums per head than anyone else on the planet, and British artists punch well above their weight — just look at the chart dominance exerted by Adele over the past year. Pioneering startups like Last.fm came out of London, and interestingly, mobile consumption is also pretty high compared to the U.S. market: something that is intriguing to many services that want to tempt more users over to paying subscriptions for their music.
And of course there’s a personal reason that Rdio may have a fondness for the U.K: the small fact that Zennström himself lives in London, which is also where his investment fund, Atomico, is based.
Update: The company has responded by telling us that: “Unfortunately, the story isn’t true. Rdio is not launching in the UK on Monday. However, they will be at some point in the future.”