A few weeks ago, during Canadian Music Week, I had a chance to interview Rdio’s relatively new CEO, former Amazon exec Anthony Bay. He was straightforward about his new company’s struggles, and how it plans to overcome them: respect. Respect the artist, respect the medium, and respect the album.
For the former, he told me that Rdio works with independent labels to license the best music that subscribers have never heard of. To respect the medium, Rdio will soon offer the highest-quality streaming options, including 320Kbps for those with wider pipes. And Rdio respects the album by ensuring that they are heard as the artist intended.
The streaming music startup followed through with that promise today by releasing an update to its Android app that adds gapless playback. While the feature may not benefit all listeners, those who revel in the classics — the albums that are meant to be heard from front to back — will now hear it as intended, without breaks between songs. This may not seem like a huge achievement, but ensuring that the beginning of the next song is loaded is much harder to do when the content is stored in the cloud than when it is local. The feature only works with Android 4.1 and above, though, so keep that in mind.
On the iOS side, Rdio’s update concerns push notifications. Users can now choose to receive pings for new music every Tuesday (best day of the week!), new followers, playlist subscriptions, and more.
Rdio is continuing to battle the biggest names like Spotify, Deezer, Google Play Music and, now, Beats Music, which was just acquired by Apple. Despite a smaller footprint, Rdio’s offerings outclass many of its competitors, and updates like these keep it ahead.