could be offering a free version of its service before the end of the year, as part of a deal with a radio broadcaster. Expected to be announced later today, Rdio is said to be working with radio station operator Cumulus Media
that will see the streaming service gain access to the broadcaster's programming and offer an advertising-based free service, in exchange for stock.
A report from the New York Times
states that the deal will have Cumulus owning a "significant equity stake" in Rdio parent company Pulser Media. Cumulus will also apparently sell advertising for a free Rdio service in the United States, as well as advertise Rdio on its network of 525 radio stations. Aside from a possible free service, Rdio users would also benefit from playlist generation from the stations, and additional non-musical content such as talk shows.
The deal will likely help Rdio in the long run, with the extra content likely to pull some subscribers in its direction, and away from Spotify
. A free service, rather than the current $5 to $10 subscription model, will also bring it in line with its main competition.