Rdio Announces Ad-Free, On-Demand Music Streaming

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Rdio, the digital music service created by Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, is today announcing the launch of an on-demand, ad-free music service here in the U.S. Now, when users sign up online to join Rdio, they’ll have access to all the full tracks from Rdio’s catalog of 12 million songs.

Previously, Rdio only provided its full catalog to paying users.

Rdio isn’t doing away with its paid plans, however. Those are still available, starting at $4.99 for unlimited Web streaming, $9.99 for unlimited Web and mobile streaming and $17.99 for the Rdio Family Plan. The key word here is “unlimited.” Only paying users will receive “unlimited” access to all of Rdio’s songs throughout the month. Meanwhile, the free users will have unlimited access for a certain period of time, but are then cut off.

For non-subscribers, Rdio now places a green bar at the top of the screen that indicates how much free music you have available for the rest of the month. As you listen to tracks, the bar decreases. The level of access is customized to each individual’s listening behavior.

Explains the company:

“The amount of free a person will get is dynamic and will be based on their own personal use and displayed in a meter in the corner of their profile. A heavy user will get more, but probably not as much as they will want and a light user will get more than they’d ever want. When a user runs out one month, they can come back the next month for more free or they don’t have to wait and can sign up for an unlimited account.”

Access to this music is provided online and via Rdio’s native apps for Mac and Windows PCs, but not on mobile. No credit card information is required to sign up for the free plan.

Songs can also be shared to Facebook via the new integration with Facebook’s Open Graph platform, where they are posted to your News Feed, Ticker or Timeline.

Rdio says it sees free music as a marketing tool for its service and a way to get people to try the product, as opposed to another tier of service. That’s why it decided to go the ad-free route, instead interrupting the listening experience. By offering the free music in this format, Rdio hopes to convert more free customers to paying subscribers over the coming months.