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Bay, who most recently was Amazon's global head of digital video, discussed Rdio's future with CNET in his first extensive interview since taking the company's helm. The following is an edited Q&A. Q: Something I thought was funny and very telling about the Amazon culture, I was looking through your LinkedIn page and all your other resume points have lots of bullets and explanations. And then the Amazon section is simply "Amazon. This was my title." And then nothing. Bay: I think I said "global head of digital video." And that was a lot, that's actually a lot.
Give me a sense of how your past experience makes sense for Rdio, What are you bringing to Rdio that makes sense iphone case aesthetic for Rdio's future? Bay: I have no comment, This is going to be a very difficult Q&A then, Bay: No, I have more freedom to say things now, I have worked for very big successful tech companies and I have worked for smaller companies, I worked for Apple first and then I worked for Microsoft, then some smaller companies, than I worked for Amazon, and each of those companies has a very distinct and quite successful culture, no matter what you might think about Microsoft, So there's the understanding of the importance of culture as companies get big and successful, number one..
Number two, I've been doing digital media since early 1996, when people were excited you could actually get something to stream. I understand the technology pretty well, I also have seen many many iterations of different business models -- a lot of things worked and haven't worked, and I have had a chance to be part of that. I have that history, for better, for worse. And then Amazon is probably one of the most remarkable companies in the world. It always puts the customer first, and really means that. A lot of times companies talk about that stuff and it's just not real. At Amazon, it's embedded in the core of everything. You focus on doing a few key things that matter, relentlessly, relentlessly focusing on getting better for the customer. That, for me, that's really helpful, it has become my thing.
If you read the reviews and you talk to customers, people who use Rdio love Rdio, The biggest problem is not enough people use Rdio, The exciting thing for me is its very strong base culture, it was founded iphone case aesthetic by some people with a very long-term view who have been very successful, Focus on simple, elegant, and effective design until you have a great product in an industry that's growing incredibly, You have all the factors that make it a pretty exciting place and, I think for me personally, a good fit..
You've talked about how important innovative value is. What about Rdio offers that innovative value? What about as you lead it forward? Bay: One of the reason I chose to come here was Rdio's elegant and efficient design. If you sniff around, which I of course did before I came here, there are a lot of people who are really passionate about Rdio. Not, frankly, because of the company itself, they're passionate because of how Rdio enables them to have music in their life. Remember the founders of Rdio were the founders of Skype. If you were ever a user of Skype, Skype was really easy, elegant, simple -- and at the time Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Cisco, and about 15 other people all had voice over IP applications. Why would anybody ever use Skype? Well, because it just worked well. That's the heritage of this company, the heritage is really really customer-focused design.
Beautiful design, if you say it's in your heritage, it's something that has iphone case aesthetic been around for Rdio since the beginning, Rdio has been around for a while, it's still very small, Bay: Yes, I agree, How is that going to change? Bay: Let's have this conversation again in a year, I've been here two months: A, I'm not in a position to tell you because it wouldn't be appropriate in a public forum, And B, there's a lot of things still to figure out, In terms of what we will do to continue to make Rdio unique for customers, stay tuned, As far as Rdio being smaller, that's frankly why I'm here, I know how to build larger businesses, I understand certain things about scale, and that's why this was a good fit for me, And if you ask the people who own the company, I think that's why I think they felt I was a good fit for them..
What about your user base? Can you tell me how many users you have? The outside numbers, at least in the US, look kind of anemic. Bay: Anemic! You cut, you hurt. I'm sorry, I mean, you said yourself you don't have enough. How many do you have? Bay: I said we're not as big as we'd like to be, and you make us sound ill. Look, we don't disclose numbers, but I'd say we've done a very good job at attracting lots of people. The problem is we didn't have a free version that could keep people around and offer one audience -- one very large audience -- a way to have a relationship with us everyday. They had to decide to spend 10 bucks or leave. As a result of that, our numbers aren't as big as we'd like them to be.
Rdio had some layoffs before you got there, Is that a step you're going to have to take, more layoffs? Are you going to be adding people? Bay: It's impossible to say what the company looks like down the road, but if I thought we were going to be laying off a bunch of people, I probably wouldn't be here, It's always a very tough thing when you have to do that, because it's people's lives, But the iphone case aesthetic company is on a more stable footing as a result, That's the balance that as owners they had to make, When your position was announced, global reach came up as an important element of what you're going to be doing, What do you see when you have a globe in front of you and you're thinking about Rdio's future? Bay: In hindsight, one of the things that Rdio didn't do, when you compare it to Spotify or Pandora, both of which are larger, is Rdio had only a subscription option, it had no freemium option, If you look at what's worked for Spotify and what's worked for Hulu, and what's worked for a lot of gaming companies in particular, it's a freemium model, We didn't have that before, and we really only launched it a few months ago, So one of the reasons we're a lot smaller is for the same reason that the other subscription-only services are a lot smaller..