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Rdio introduces live broadcast radio

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Streaming service Rdio announced a game-changer Wednesday: The introduction of live broadcast radio. The new feature, which will allow Rdio users to stream a multitude of terrestrial radio stations, will initially launch with nearly 500 channels in the U.S.

“Rdio is pioneering a new mobile listening experience by bridging live and local radio with a fully interactive streaming service,” the company wrote in a press release, emphasizing the new functionality’s integration with its already-robust algorithmic stations and 35 million song on-demand library.

But the introduction of broadcast radio isn’t just designed to make your smartphone or computer a proxy for an old-school FM transistor. Rdio explains that listeners will be able to favorite, share, or start custom radio stations based on songs they hear. Paying subscribers (or those on free trial) will also be able to download songs for unlimited listening or add them to custom playlists—basically the same options Rdio’s pre-existing functionalities offer. “This combination leverages live radio’s time-tested discovery qualities while giving listeners the freedom and flexibility to explore newly discovered artists in more depth,” Rdio wrote.

“Broadcast radio brands and talent continue to be the dominant tastemakers in music, so integrating live broadcast radio into Rdio’s critically acclaimed customer experience is an exciting development that we are thrilled to introduce,” Rdio CEO Anthony Bay said.

Rdio’s decision comes on the heels of Apple Music’s June rollout, which included the introduction of 24/7 global radio station Beats 1. Rdio’s initial slate of broadcast radio channels will include Indianapolis’s 93.9 The Beat, LA’s 95.5 KLOS, Nashville’s 95-5 NASH Icon, New York’s NASH FM 94.7, and San Francisco’s KFOG. The service will also offer sports content from local stations and major national network Westwood One, including round-the-clock stations focusing on events like NCAA March Madness, the Masters, and the Kentucky Derby.

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