Tools We Love: Rdio
At a growing company , finding something that we all agree on is a tall order. And while we don’t all agree on it (I’m pretty sure Greg is still working a turntable.fm room somewhere in the interwebs), Rdio has quickly become a tool we all love. I could say something cheesy like, “Well, this is Music City after all!” but it really comes down to this: in a time when the entire entertainment landscape is changing, Rdio brings us a product that is well thought out, easy to use, and makes music social and downright fun again.
For those of you who are not familiar with it, Rdio is a subscription-based music service which allows subscribers to access a vast library of songs* from wherever you can find a data connection. Your computer and/or your phone (for mobile subscribers) both are portals into being connected to millions* of songs wherever and whenever you want. Pay Rdio just $5 more a month on top of their insanely cheap $5 base fee and have access to music you’ve synced to your mobile device, or to other devices like the Roku.
Imagine you’re listening to music and you think to yourself, “Man, I really wish I had that Toto CD with ‘Africa’ on it…I’d never actually buy it, but that’s my jam.” So you open Rdio on your computer or your phone, search for Toto, find the song in question, and hit play. Now imagine doing this with just about anything you can think of: the new Beyonce record, that Bon Iver record that all of your hipster friends won’t shut up about, the Lady Gaga album you’d NEVER buy but secretly want to listen to.
Once you get going within Rdio, there are two main functions: creating playlists, and adding music to your collection. Both actions can be equated to iTunes: your Rdio collection is like your iTunes music library, and playlists are the same as well. I’d have to say my favorite function of playlists is that other people can easily listen to them and if you enable collaboration, anyone can add songs to your playlist. I had some fun with this recently at a ladies night I hosted at my home. We spent more than an hour adding fun, guilty pleasure songs to a playlist, and now anyone that was there can continue to add songs to the playlist from their own computers, as well as listen to the playlist anytime they like.
The Mac app is slick, and super easy to use. If you want to add entire albums to your collection (single songs are better suited to playlists), just search for the album in question, and a hover over the album art will reveal a + symbol and a down arrow. All of your options will appear there, and this is where you’ll want to add albums to your collection.
Another fantastic feature is the social aspect to Rdio. You “follow” people just as you would on Twitter, and Rdio will let you know what these folks are listening to. In fact, when you open the Mac app, that’s the first thing you see, what your friends have in “heavy rotation”. Below that, you get a social network-esque feed of recent activity: what your followers have added to their collection, what they’ve synced to their devices, any reviews that they have written on particular albums or playlists.
Whether or not the music industry wants to accept it, cloud music is where we are headed. I pay you a subscription fee once a month, you give me access to every piece of music ever recorded. I feel like this isn’t too much to ask for. It’s made me actually love music again. Thanks to Rdio for making a top notch product, and for being a tool we love.
*I’m not exactly sure how many songs Rdio has in their catalog, so you’ll just have to enjoy my estimation. Also, enjoy this awesome image from their support page.