Rdio for iOS, Mac and Web goes freemium

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Forget Spotify, Pandora and Beats Music. I’ve tried them all, and for my money, Rdio is the best streaming music subscription service out there. It has the best app design and, for my tastes, the best music selection. But you have to pay.

An update, though, is trying to make Rdio much more palatable to free users, as well as help all users find new music faster. It’s making the service free to everyone, emphasizing ad-supported stations for free users (with up to 15 times as many tracks as competing services), and new, smart social services for paid users.

The new smart redesign introduces a new Home feed, which shows songs your friends are listening to in real time, as well as albums that are trending in your network and albums by artists that you like that you haven’t listened to yet. It’s almost Facebook-like in its execution: a list of trending and notable artists, songs and albums.

Meanwhile, free users will see a near-total emphasis on Rdio’s curated, ad-supported music stations, which they can listen to without paying Rdio’s $9.99 subscription fee. They can even kick back off with the last song they listened to with a new “Keep Listening” feature.

Rdio is a great service, but as the Verge notes, it’s having a far more difficult time competing against the likes of Spotify and Pandora than a service this well-designed should.

The new design makes Rdio smarter and easier to delve into, especially for free users, but will that be enough?

The new design should go live today in Rdio for iOS, Mac and Web player. It’s working here, but some of our colleagues overseas aren’t seeing it yet, so keep trying.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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