Rdio unplugs Vdio

vdio discontinuation“We have decided to discontinue the Vdio beta service.” That abrupt announcement greets visitors to Vdio.com, Rdio‘s once-sister service that sought to be a distribution site for movies in the Netflix-Hulu-iTunes-Amazon space. The notice cites an inability to “deliver the differentiated customer service we had hoped for.” Vdio had been in public-facing beta mode for eight months.

Rdio’s portfolio adjustment seems to be a case of trimming its sails and consolidating its bets, along the same lines as the cost-cutting layoffs the company executed in November. By honing its personnel and products, Rdio is smartly veering away from attempting to boil the ocean with overly ambitious diversity. The end-of-year timing clearly foretells stronger competitive headwinds in 2014 — to all streaming music platforms, not just Rdio. The approach of YouTube, Deezer, and Beats Music to the U.S. market promises a glut of consumer choices. Differentiation, the key word in Vdio’s shutdown notice, is the elusive value that all major music services will be chasing in the new year.

Brad Hill