Rdio has stepped up its game in the online music service’s battle with Spotify, MOG, and Rhapsody. Rdio now lets users sign up for a free account and listen to a limited number of songs on-demand for free each month. Spotify offers a similar free service tier. But unlike Spotify, Rdio won’t interrupt the music after every few songs to play an advertisement.
The free Rdio service only available in a web browser. You’ll see a meter at the top of the screen showing how much free streaming you have left for the month. The amount of free music you get each month depends on your listening habits. Heavy users will actually get more time than light users… but not an infinite amount.
Spotify, by contrast, gives users 10 hours of free music per month.
If you want to use the company’s mobile apps to stream music to a smartphone, Roku, or Sonos box you’ll need to sign up for a Rdio Unlimited account at $9.99 per month.
If you’re cool with PC-only streaming but want to listen to unlimited music you can get a Web account for $4.99. Subscribers can also download standalone apps for Mac or Windows instead of using a web browser.
Rdio offers access to 12 million tracks, and after poking around a little it appears that company’s selection is pretty close to what you find at Spotify. I was able to find some songs and albums for most of the artists I searched for — but wasn’t necessarily able to find all of the albums those artists had released.
Another thing that sets Rdio apart is its focus on social tools. You can follow other users with tastes similar to yours to discover new music. You can also connect Rdio to your Facebook, Twitter, and Last.fm accounts or find friends using your Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, or Yahoo Mail accounts.