Rdio, the online music streaming subscription service for computers, smartphones and mobile devices from Skype founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström, is now out of beta and available to the public.
The Rdio service lets users stream music from their online selections and allows them to sync with, and access, their own music collections from any Rdio-enabled device. It also has a social networking component to connect with other Rdio customers, and encourages users to share their musical tastes and listening habits via Twitter and Facebook.
Carter Adamson, Rdio’s COO says the social networking component is what drives the service and will make it appealing to users. Adamson states that during the service’s beta test, “People were amazed at how much music they discovered, both old and new stuff. They told us it made their music come alive. Instead of a static music collection, they were exposed to a powerful stream of music activity.”
The staff at Ars Technica criticized Rdio early in the testing period due to lack of selection. However, they do say that recent licensing deals with EMI, Sony, Universal, Warner Music Group, as well as several indie labels have improved the experience.
The subscription rates for Rdio are $4.95 per month for listening via their desktop service, and $9.95 per month for users who want to take advantage of the mobile service as well. Applications are currently available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry smartphone devices. A free 3-day trial of Rdio is also available to new users with no credit card or payment information required.
While Rdio seems like a cool service, I’m not sure I’m willing to pay a monthly subscription fee for it. The cost doesn’t seem unreasonable, however, and for those who are on-the-go more than myself, the mobile aspect of the service could have some appeal. I’m going to try a trial account over the next couple of days, but I predict that once the trial is over I’ll revert back to my Pandora habit.