The deal being offered by Rdio, a highly hyped online music subscription service that’s in the process of launching, is a simple one. Pay $4.99 a month and you get access to millions of streaming tunes through your Web browser; up that to $9.99 a month, and you can stream them on your mobile devices, too. You can also download some of those songs for $1.29 a pop, but the emphasis is on the streaming subscriptions. This isn’t a particularly new model. So what does Rdio have that previous subscription sites like Rhapsody and the reincarnated Napster don’t?
After spending an afternoon test-driving Rdio, I can report that it features a clean, fast, easy user interface. But what really counts for a site like this is catalog. Poking around Rdio, I was able to stream brand-new jams from the diverse likes of Drake, Eminem, Janelle Monae, Sleigh Bells, Beach House, Tokyo Police Club, and Laura Marling. I also found deep representation for my favorite artists from the ’90s (Radiohead, Jay-Z) back to the ’70s and ’60s (Bruce Springsteen, Phil Ochs). Rdio’s most gaping holes at the moment are in the indie world: St. Vincent, Joanna Newsom, Grizzly Bear, Spoon, Flying Lotus, and Morning Benders all came up more or less short. You can also forget about streaming the Beatles, but that’s of course true everywhere else as well. May Rdio strike mutually agreeable deals with each of these artists’ respective labels in the near future.
Have you checked out Rdio yet, or do you plan to? Let us know what you think.
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