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Telus and Rdio team up for direct billing, music awesomeness


There’s no masking my love for Rdio. One of the few (legal) on-demand music subscription services available in Canada, it is a powerhouse of web- and mobile-based streaming. Launched in 2010 by former Skype founder Janus Friis, Rdio offers nearly 9 million songs on demand, and incorporates social networking elements into all aspects of the service.

I signed up for a 7-day trial when it first arrived in Canada and found it to be one of the most fluid, graceful web interfaces for music, period. You can create playlists, or load others’ (that’s where the social aspect comes in). Albums can be commented on and rated, and can be embedded onto websites (think YouTube) for quick external access to 30-second song previews, or the full track if you are a member paying member.

While selection is Canada isn’t as robust as it is south of the border, likely due to licensing constraints, many popular releases are available the day they come out in stores, including the latest from Beyonce, Bon Iver and Adele. Indie artists are also heavily represented, and albums can be sorted by popularity or date. There is also a Recommendations section that plugs into your previously-listened tracks and uses matches artists based on community members’ recommendations.

Where Telus comes in is simple yet powerful: carrier billing, at $10/month for the service, directly on your phone bill. Might not seem like a big deal, but for many it means one less bill to remember to pay every month. And that prices you unlimited access to all tracks on the PC, Mac, iOS (iPhone and iPad apps), Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

You can synchronize music to your mobile device so songs can play when you don’t have connectivity. Twitter and Facebook sharing is built into the app, and commenting is available on an album-by-album, and artist-by-artist basis.

Rdio is available for $4.99/month for web-only access and, with Telus carrier billing, $9.99/month for web + mobile access. A free trial is available at rdio.com

Source: Telus

  • Dan K

    Spotify is SO much better, but not officially available here. I’ve had an account for a year and a half. ;) I tried Rdio, but it just didn’t compare.

    • Dan J

      A thousand thumbs up to this. I’ve been a Spotify user for as long as the service has been around and have completely fallen in love with it.

      I keep looking at my CDs at home and wonder why I still have them.

      I did give RDIO a try, but after a couple of hours use I cancelled. So frustrating making a ‘queue’ to be able to use the desktop or mobile apps.

      For those that haven’t used Spotify… you tell it what EXACTLY you want to listen to, whether it’s a song, artist, full album, etc. and it gives it to you. It’s as simple as that.

    • daveloft

      Dan, I don’t understand your complaints about the Queue. I find an album I want, I click ‘add to queue’ and it’s instantly in my queue on my phone and through the web browser. It works surprisingly well.

    • TomatoGuy

      The sad thing is, people continue to spend hundreds of dollars using iTunes to buy music they would rarely listen afterwards.

  • EmperumanV

    Now Skype and this, not bad Telus.

  • EmperumanV

    @Dan J, there’s no Spotify premium or unlimited service in Canada though as mentioned on their website.

  • Tom

    I tried Rdio too – I’ve been searching for a decent legal service for years and I’m getting fairly frustrated.

    My problem with Rdio (and with the others) is the limited selection. I don’t want to be using a convenient cloud service like Rdio half the time, and then resorting to my ripped CD collection the rest of the time.

    So, I will wait for Google or Amazon’s music service to come to Canada since these will let me upload all my ripped CD’s + anything new I buy all to the same service.

    I will continue to pass on iTunes/iCloud since buying Apple generally means committing to their products for ever (i.e. I doubt their cloud music service will work on an Android or BB).

    • daveloft

      Unfortunately no streaming service has everything so you will have to use something else to fill in the gaps.

      Google Music is great for what you have but if you want a new album it’s $10 to buy, then you must download it and then upload to Google. Services like Rdio are easier and if you buy more than one album a month, their also cheaper.

      Also I’m in Canada and I’m using Google Music. You just need to be using a VPN to accept the invite. After that you can upload and listen from a Canadian connection no problem.

    • Tom

      @daveloft
      Yes, the current situation on Google Music is rather strange: that they can’t sell you music directly. But this surely must change as I doubt they want to go on providing all this storage and bandwidth while letting their competitors make money from users’ purchases.

  • zico

    I’m partial to grooveshark myself.

  • Fraser

    Where do we sign up for direct billing from Telus? Can’t find any info on either site! Trying out for free right now!

  • Tony

    Too bad they didn’t try incentivize this with a lower rdio fee or for rdio traffic to not count against your cap.

  • Melted

    Grooveshark FTW! :)

  • nsnap

    I don’t get all these people complaining that Rdio has limited selection? I have found all but 2 things thus far and have an offline play list of around 900+ songs. And for the record, I have a vast array of genres. From calypsos (back in the 60′s to present) Pop, rock, steel drum, rap, dance, classical, etc… you get the point.
    There are a few issues however with Rdio but I’m sure they will fix/change them in the near future. If not, I too am waiting for Google or Sony’s (amazon’s Canadian selection already blows and I don’t see it improving when streaming comes).

  • Baester

    It seems like Rdio is focused on US and Canada only which could be good for us. I imported my iTunes library with the desktop app thing and it caught 95% of it, about 3500 songs – it didnt get the unreleased stuff I had ripped from cds. I partially agree with Tony above – I hope they offer Rdio as part of a rate plan or something.

  • Tony

    I hope people don’t misunderstand my comment above. I really like and use rdio everyday, and I am on Telus so it would make me like telus and rdio more if there was a benefit to getting rdio from telus.

  • Boogie

    What’s the difference in getting charged on your credit bill or my carrier bill? This is a kind of a weak sales offering. If TELUS subsidized the subscription or zero rated the data on the service then this would be news to talk about.

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