Skype co-founder’s music streaming venture Rdio acquires Dhingana

San Francisco-based digital music service Rdio has acquired Dhingana, an India- and US-based social music streaming service, which was apparently shut down last month. The transaction details of the deal are not disclosed but the deal paves the way for Rdio to enter India with Dhingana’s catalogue of music.

As per the deal, Dhingana founders Snehal Shinde and Swapnil Shinde will join the executive team at Rdio and will work towards its expansion efforts.

Launched in August 2010, Rdio was founded by Janus Friis, co-creator of Skype. The service is available in countries all over the world and is funded by Friis through his investment entities. The firm claims to have an on-demand access to over 20 million songs; it connects people with music and helps them search for and instantly play any song, album, artist, or playlist.

Rdio has a subscription-based revenue model as it competes with global rivals like Spotify and Pandora. Rdio’s proposed plans would mark the entry of first large global player in the Indian music streaming space, a market where Spotify and Pandora are not available as yet.

Last December, Rdio had roped in former head of Amazon’s global video business, Anthony Bay, as its chief executive. Around the same time, the company expanded its service to 20 new regions to take its presence to a total of 51 countries across the globe. Early this year, Rdio started allowing fee streaming on its web portal, while mobile users still have to pay to get access to the full Rdio experience.

According to Bay, India is a tremendously vibrant market for music and culture and one of the largest and most important in the world. With this acquisition, the firm aims to bring that experience to India and to non-resident Indians around the world.

Dhingana was founded in 2007 by the twin brothers. It raised an undisclosed amount from Inventus and Helion Venture Partners in 2011. In October 2012, it further secured $7 million in Series B, led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Existing investors Inventus and Helion also participated in that round.

As per the last update, Dhingana had crossed 9 million users globally. It also had launched its paid subscription model in July last year and more recently tied up with General Mobile to pre-load the app on one million handsets.

“Dhingana, with over 1 million songs in 42 languages and Indian genres, has become synonymous with India’s love of music for its millions of users around the world. We are excited to bring a new experience for millions of Dhingana’s loyal fans, to extend that to all Indian smartphone users, and join an amazing globally-minded team at Rdio,” said Swapnil Shinde.

Although terms of the transaction were not disclosed, it could well have included a stock component for the investors.We have contacted Helion Venture Partners and Inventus Venture Partners for more details on the deal, and will update the story as we hear from them.

This would mark another exit where a global player is buying an India-focused digital venture. In the past, Naspers acquired redBus, Facebook snapped Little Eye Labs, GSN acquired social bingo game creator Bash Gaming.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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