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Rdio, the music subscription service backed by the founders of Skype (s MSFT) and KaZaA, is expanding to Austria, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Latvia and Lithuania. That brings the total number of countries with a Rdio presence to 24. The announcement of the expansion comes on the same day as a Bloomberg report stating that Spotify is negotiating to bring its free, ad-supported mobile service tier to all of the countries it is operating in.
Rdio, just as a refresher, is a subscription service that tries to set itself apart from market leader Spotify with a different take on social music curation. The company offers limited free music for up to six months, but doesn’t do ads.
That’s different from Spotify, which launched a free, ad-supported mobile radio service in the U.S. last summer. The company is now looking to expand its free mobile tier to all of its 17 territories, Bloomberg reported Monday. Deals for such an offering are still under negotiation, but Spotify could start with its free streaming as early as April.
Spotify’s free mobile service is more like Pandora, (s P) offering users limited interactivity with the hopes that some are going to subscribe to a full-service offering. And the interest in music subscriptions is definitely growing: Industry association IFPI’s latest Digital Music report (PDF) claims that worldwide, 20 million consumers paid for music subscriptions in 2012. And in Europe, subscription services made up for 20 percent of all digital music revenues during that time period.
That number was largely driven by a strong showing in Northern Europe, which is Spotify’s home turf – but services like Rdio seem to bet that this success story can be repeated in countries like Austria as well.