With thousands of songs in your iTunes, and devices with limited memory, there must be a better way. Enter Rdio, a music subscription service with apps for iOS. The entertainment industry is a fickle thing, with confusing laws and restrictions. Rdio seems to bypass this by giving users unlimited access to their music library for a small monthly fee.
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After your 7-day free trial, Rdio has two basic subscription prices: full access to the website only for $4.99/month, or full access to web and mobile for $9.99/month. You can also find savings if you spring for the Unlimited Family packages. For the price of one new album a month, you can have access to (almost) any song, artist, or album you want, whenever and wherever you want it.
When in the iOS app, you can listen to music in a few different ways:
Heavy Rotation – songs that are listened to frequently by yourself, people in your network, or the general Rdio populous.
Activity – you can see what your network or everyone has added to their collection.
Collection – library of songs that you have saved to your collection, sorted by artist (or not sorted at all).
Playlists – lists of songs that you curate yourself, collaborate with someone else to create, or subscribe to.
New Releases – brand spankin’ new singles and albums that have come out this week, last week, or two weeks ago.
Top Charts – top albums, songs, and playlists in a given time frame.
Recommended – based on what you already listen to, or have saved in your collection, Rdio makes other music recommendations.
There seems to be a lot of social interaction with Rdio, something that gives it an advantage over others (I’m not a big user of Ping, for example). Each social feature and search function ensures that not only is it easy to find the song/album/artist you want to listen to, but it is also easy to be exposed to new music.
Rdio is an inexpensive way to have access to all your music, all the time. Also, you have access to every song imaginable without worrying if your iPhone is running out of space (should’ve sprung for the 32GB, eh?).
There were very few songs or artists I couldn’t find on Rdio, giving me confidence in using it over my trusty iTunes library.
I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to listen to a song on my iPhone or iPod and then realized I neglected to sync my phone and am therefore missing that song. Rdio gets rid of this issue, which is a huge plus for me.
What could be better…
The song recommendations from Rdio seem to be all over the place. People I’ve talked to say they never like any of the recommendations that Rdio makes for them, so there must be a problem in the algorithm somewhere.
For the few songs that Rdio is missing, I wish there was a functionality that allowed me to upload some songs to my own collection. I’m sure there are reasons why they can’t legally, but it would make the app that much better. I miss my Childish Gambino!
When you have singles and albums saved to your collection, you can’t listen to your entire library at once. Album-by-album is the only way to listen to your collection unless you make your entire collection a playlist. This is a pretty simple UX fix that would definitely enhance the app.
When listening to “Top Songs”, you have to hit each song individually — you cannot listen to this category as a playlist. It seems as if the app was not made for long-term listening.
Discovery through the mobile application isn’t as easy as on the web. To go the extra mile, Rdio could utilize location-based functionality to enhance the discovery process.
All-in-all, Rdio is a fantastic service for people with a broad taste in music, and who always want to find new songs and artists. And with the low price tag, I would highly recommend it.