Streaming service Rdio’s partnership with the Echo Nest has brought forward yet another amazing app for music lovers in the US, Canada and Australia. The brand new Rdio feature is called “Stations,” and it allows you to listen to music online from over 20 predefined stations built on various songs from different artists. You also have the option to create your own station based on tracks, artists, or albums. It’s being released as free for iOS (meaning iPhone, iPad apps) and the Android app, and is now available on the iTunes App Store as well as on Google Play.
This an obvious strategic play against the new iTunes Radio and the long-existing Pandora Radio. Billboard thinks that a freemium version of YouTube might be in the works, saying “YouTube may also employ the freemium tactic. Various reports have said Google is working on a YouTube music subscription service, something separate from the Google Play Music All Access launched in the United States in May and in nine European countries in August.”
All of this means that we’re heading into a time of crazy competition between streaming music services, which can only be good for us as music lovers. More products, more features and more experimentation with what might work well for a good listener and user experience.
Another feature of Rdio Stations is that it’s totally ad-free, so you’ll have no interruptions of any sort while listening to songs. Stations can be customized as well, it can play familiar tracks when you’re in a mood to listen to some of your old favorites or it can be set to shuffle when you are in a mood of something new.
Moreover, Rdio is expecting its customers to love Stations so much that they‘ll be willing to upgrade to the $5 - $10 subscription fee for the Rdio Web and Rdio Unlimited packages in order to avail the access of over 20 millions tracks. The old freemium upgrade. An Rdio subscription allows you to play your favorite track whenever you want on your smartphone. "We don’t need you to subscribe right away," said Rdio’s VP of Product Chris Becherer when being interviewed by The Verge.
“We’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the on-demand experience fits in with a radio station’s listening experience. What we wanted to do was kind of combine this great on-demand experience with a great passive station listening experience,” said Becherer when speaking to Mashable.
So if you’re thinking about a new iPhone 5s or you’re into Android phones, Rdio is giving one more reason to buy: free music streaming. It makes the Rdio vs Mog choice an easy one, but Spotify and Pandora Radio still offer comparable music services for online radio streaming.