Rdio, the online music straming company founded by the former Skype founders, Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, has announced that they will be releasing a set of APIs to developers, according to ReadWriteWeb. This comes as an attempt to try and go around Apple’s counter announcement of them charging 30% of new subscribers that will come through their iPhone apps, a move which has been widely criticized for “killing the online music business”. Margins are very low and online streaming services such as Rdio (and Spotify for that matter) are scrambling to find new ways to keep the business model afloat.
Rdio is offering three types of APIs: one based on the open OEmbed standard, a REST API and a Web Playback API. Rdio has stated that Playback APIs for iOS and Android are coming, according to RWW.
Developers will be paid 2% to 3% commission for the lifetime of the subscriber, if they sign up new subscribers to the company’s $5 and $10 plans. They will hope to create an army of affiliate sales people who would sell the subcription plans outside of Rdio’s own iPhone app.
We reached out earlier in February to Spotify for a comment on how they’ll try to keep their business afloat the new Apple iTunes developer terms that will force companies to offer the same subscriptions (at the same price) in their iOS apps as they do on their websites, for example. Spotify stated they haven’t commented on this yet and will do so at a later date.
This really is an interesting question, should Apple really care? On the other hand no, but on the other hand – absolutely. Apple is a platform provider, they shouldn’t be punished for the troubles in other industries, as the music industry. But, music is really one of the most universal ways one uses their iOS device – battering that to death through a greedy business model isn’t going to help in their fight to keep their current position in the market.