Following in the footsteps of competitors Spotify, MOG and Pandora, on-demand music streaming service Rdio announced today a free plan that allows users to listen to whatever tunes they like from Rdio’s 12 million-song catalog, without the pesky presence of advertisements.
To sign up, US users need only an email address or a Facebook account, according to the press release. This is a direct shot at Spotify, which reportedly sparked a flurry of user outrage for requiring a Facebook account to sign-up.
Similar to MOG, Rdio users will see a gauge at the top of their dashboard, which shows how much music listening-time they have left for the month. Also like MOG, Rdio did not specify the number of hours each month users will be able to listen for free, only that it’s “limited.” Users who want to upgrade for $4.99 or $9.99 (which includes mobile listening) receive unlimited listening.
Here’s a quick rundown of how Rdio’s free option compares to those of MOG, Spotify and Pandora:
MOG users can listen to an unspecified amount of free music each month. That amount is indicated by a “fuel tank” gauge on the dashboard, which goes down as the hours of playtime mount. MOG will give users additional free listening-time by sharing songs with friends, or by adding music to their playlists that MOG deems worth. It’s ambiguous, a little frustrating but kind of cool at the same time. Free MOG users will have to deal with ads.
For US customers, Spotify recently upgraded their free option to allow for unlimited listening-time for the first six months. And yes, there are ads. After that, users will receive 10 hours of free music each month, which essentially forces users to upgrade to a $5 or $10 pay plan.
Pandora now offers users unlimited music for free. The primary downside is the ads, of course, but Pandora remains the only streaming service of the four that gives both unlimited music, and access to the service via a mobile app.
The other great free option is Grooveshark, which offers unlimited streaming for free. It’s not quite as polished as any of the services above, but many users swear by it as the best streaming option. Regardless of which service you go with, it’s obvious that music is becoming more and more free by the minute. Our only question: can the business model of simply giving away your product for free stand the test of time? We shall see..