With Napster, Rhapsody and even newcomers like MOG hawking all-you-can play music for about the same price, the market for subscription music services is already packed shoulder to shoulder with vendors. They’ll all have to shove aside and make room for one more this week with the introduction of Rdio, a new service from the brains behind Skype, Kazaa and Joost.
After opening a private, invite-only beta in June, Rdio’s library of 7 million songs went live Tuesday. The service matches the pricing of competitors with $4.99 monthly subscriptions for desktop streaming, or $9.99 to gain access on mobile devices as well. At launch, Rdio has apps for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry operating systems.
What makes Rdio different from the swarms of competitors? Cofounders Janus Friis with Niklas Zennström hope the simplified interface and Twitter-like social networking aspects will make it easier for users to stumble upon music they like. For instance, like Twitter, users can follow and be followed by other users. They can also write reviews for different songs, albums, and artists, browse top charts based on collective listening habits, and view songs specifically recommended for them based on songs already added to their libraries.
Rdio will also lower the barrier of entry for its free trial by eliminating the need for a credit card – something most other services require in hopes of roping new users in. However, Rdio’s free trial will last only three days after signing up.
Check out our comparison of the top streaming music services compared for an overview of competitors including Napster, Rhapsody and eMusic.