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