Intro: Rdio was one of the first major players to arrive down under. Launched in late January from the makers of Skype, but unfortunately, it’s not free like the internet calling provider. It tried to swoop under Spotify’s feet by launching earlier than the Swedish company, garnering an early user base. As for connectivity, it works less like Facebook, and a little bit more like Twitter; without the nonsensical information of someone’s daily life. You can follow various profiles to check out who’s been listening to what and discover new music for yourself.
Music Library – 3/5: This service has access to around 12 million songs and even though it’s a few million less than Spotify, it also passed our test with straight A’s in all facets and genres. If you can think of it, chances are Rdio’s got it.
Design – 4/5: Rdio has just undergone a sexy new makeover, which is a good thing because the old version was a little too much like iTunes. The new minimalist white look will please most newcomers with its straightforward look and design. The site pushes the album artwork into focus, with the main screen being occupied by record covers. It has the play button and run time at the bottom of the screen like most streaming services, but it is barely noticeable – in a neat and tidy way.
Functionality 4/5: It’s as simple as searching for the artist and pressing play. But if you enjoy reading other people’s thoughts, you can read comments and add your own on specific albums. You can also collaborate with other users on playlists and, just like Spotify, you’re able to sync music to your respective device for those times when you’re without service. There’s little to confuse you here.
Price – 3/5: Rdio are happy to advertise that there are no ads on their site. Good for them, but it literally comes at a price. You can either pay $8.90 a month for just desktop access or fork out $12.90 to stream through your mobile, Ipad and other mobile devices. You can get a certain amount of music for free every month but once it’s used up you have to wait until the next for it to reset. This option obviously isn’t practical in the long run; it’s pretty much a trial version.
Limitations: Other than requiring your credit card, Rdio can take time to set up. If you’re really keen on the social media and profile aspects. Given most people are already on at least one if not more social media networks, some people may not enjoy going through this process all over again.
The edge: Rdio sought to gain a foothold on the market before Spotify arrived and in some ways it worked. There’s already a good base of users signed up, so you can follow them and their trail of favourite music to new discoveries. From a band like Oh Mercy, to a venue like the Corner Hotel there are plenty of interesting people to follow. Even Tone Deaf has its own profile (so it must be good, right?). But where Rdio really shines is its ‘New Releases’ tab. It allows you to quickly and easily access the most recently released new music, extremely handy for those looking for the freshest produce.
The verdict: 3 ½ /5
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