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Rdio's new Artist Program will pay music acts to bring in streaming subscribers

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Rdio iOS app
Rdio iOS app

Some in the music industry fear that the advent of streaming services may negatively impact sales, but Rdio is making it a lot more enticing for artists to embrace its service: the company has just announced a new analytics and referral program that will pay artists for each new Rdio subscriber they bring to the table. As detailed on Rdio's blog and website, the Artist Program lets musical acts take control of and customize their artist page on the service; they can then use it share music and links across different social networks, similar to the social sharing features already present for regular Rdio users.

The twist comes on the analytics side. Rdio will allow artists to track the performance of their links in real-time, and whenever one results in a new Rdio paid subscriber, the company will then pay that artist $10. In a sense, it's a riff on music placement and promotion services like TuneCore, only in this case it's Rdio paying the artist, not the other way around.

Details first leaked that Rdio was developing the service back in May, and its strategic benefits are obvious. By paying artists to take advantage of its service, Rdio extends a hand to acts looking for additional revenue streams, and then every link and tweet an artist pushes serves as an advertisement for Rdio itself. It also lays the groundwork for Rdio to become a true social engagement platform in its own right. Of course, an initiative like this can only work if it's adopted by musicians in the first place, and Rdio already has a slate in place: Snoop Dogg, Chromeo, and Scissor Sisters are among those signed up for the Artist Program.

Whether the move will be enough to allay music industry fears — or profitable enough for artists to adopt it over the long haul — remains to be seen, but one thing's for sure: the prospects for Justin Timberlake's MySpace reboot just got a little more grim.