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BuzzFeed Partners With Rdio As it Pushes Into Music Space

President-COO Steinberg: 'This Is Social Music Advertising'

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BuzzFeed has rapidly built up content verticals around everything from food to politics to celebrities -- and now it's pushing further into the music space, attempting to become a hub not just for "14 Beach Boys album covers," but a place for music-sharing and discovery.

BuzzFeed sponsored music radio
BuzzFeed sponsored music radio

In partnership with streaming-music service Rdio, the site has added reaction buttons that allow users to react to stories with a song. So for example, if you're looking at a story about Lana Del Rey being the new face of H&M, you can, in addition to commenting or reacting with an "OMG" or "LOL," scroll down a bit further and react with a song from a customized playlist by BuzzFeed music editors.

But perhaps more interesting is that with Rdio, BuzzFeed is going to start using both the music channel vertical as well as its homepage as a place where readers can discover new music or hear popular songs through sponsored Rdio posts and units. Visitors to BuzzFeed will be able to listen to Rdio's top tracks and search for new songs too.

"This is basically social music advertising -- it reminds me of musical greeting cards -- music used to send a message or convey a feeling," said Jon Steinberg, president-chief operating officer of BuzzFeed. "What better way can Rdio express its value than allowing users to react and share content using its massive searchable, streamable database of music?"

Part of the play for BuzzFeed seems to be getting patrons of its content to stay on its site longer, rather than simply look at, say, a few funny photos from the latest presidential debate and be on their way. By permitting music-streaming, the site seems to want folks to linger. Asked to comment, Mr. Steinberg said: "The key is that it encourages engagement and sharing in new ways -- something we are always focused on. Too early to see if time on site is impacted."

If you haven't heard much about Rdio, that 's likely to change soon. The San Francisco-based startup launched in August 2010 and was founded by Janus Friis, who was behind Skype. After failing to make much of a splash in a sea of bigger competitors such as Spotify, Rdio redesigned its site to make it cleaner earlier this year. Now, it seems to be working on a marketing push and carving out its own niche.

In addition to the BuzzFeed sponsorship, Rdio recently erected a huge Times Square billboard presence.

It's not as if there aren't already enough music-subscription services, but Rdio appears to be focusing more on the fact that it's a social-music service -- thus the BuzzFeed integration to let readers of posts react with a song. But some of the other social features it allows are the ability to follower users in a network to gain access to their playlists and listening history, as well as drag-and-drop sharing. There's a focus on artists too; Rdio is trying to appeal to musicians by letting fans listen to their music recommendations and earn $10 for every new subscriber of Rdio they bring in via social sharing.

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