Rdio is primarily a web streaming service. At a passing glance, Rdio is quite similar to Spotify and Deezer, except for a heavier emphasis on social discovery. Visiting Rdio’s homepage will reveal a collection of album covers. This is the Heavy Rotation feature, which also appears as a selectable option in the left pane.
Heavy Rotation offers music that Rdio users have been listening to, as well as your own listening history. You can choose to play individual songs, albums or everything within Heavy Rotation. But as with all streaming services, some songs may be unavailable due to licensing issues. You can also search for your favorite artists and bands via the search bar, though its functionality is quite limited; you can’t search by genre or year for example. The good news about Rdio is that even if you have a free account, you won’t have to sit through ads. And while most music streaming services manage your favorite tracks through playlists, Rdio actually goes a step further and lets you establish your own library similar to iTunes. You can add tracks or even whole albums to your collection, and sort by artist, album, recently added or play count.
Rdio also has this feature called Collection Matching, which can scan through your iTunes or Windows Media Player library for matches in Rdio’s music cloud; each match will be automatically added to your collection.
There are three subscription tiers with Rdio: Web access costs US$4.90 a month, but has no mobile support. The Unlimited plan costs US$9.90 a month and with that you get unlimited web and mobile streaming, as well as Rdio on your Roku. Lastly, there’s a configurable Unlimited Family plan which offers additional bundle discounts based on the number of users (from 2 to 5) you sign up for.
You can of course just listen to songs free (without ads to boot) via the web, there’s no indication if Rdio has imposed a limit on free listening like it did in the past, but songs are streamed at 192kbps tops. Rdio has stated that it’s in the midst of converting its entire catalog to 320kbps.