Not to be outdone by Spotify, Beats or Pandora, Rdio is now free through its website. Mobile users still have to pay if they want access to the full Rdio experience. Users will also have to pay if they want an ad-free experience — because that’s how Rdio is making its service free.
As the announcement says, “Free listeners will hear a mix of new feature announcements, messages from partner brands, notifications about exclusive content, and other helpful tips.” So, you know, commercials.
This move isn’t that surprising for Rdio. Just yesterday, Spotify dropped its time limit on its free service, which previously limited freeloaders to unlimited streaming for six months.
On mobile, Rdio’s free version remains unchanged where it previously offered users a radio-like (or Pandora-like) experience where stations streamed for free but users could not select individual songs. Last month Spotify launched a similar service.
Rdio’s longevity has long been called into question. Recent layoffs and restructuring seems to indicate not everything is well in Rdio’s house. And the competition is about to get even more tight.
The streaming music scene is about to get a new player. Backed by AT&T, Beats Music launches on January 21st. The service is said to be sold in AT&T stores and likely bundled in some fashion with AT&T phones and included on wireless plans. Rdio, and for that matter, Spotify, need to grab all the marketshare they can before this new player enters the game. Free is a good, if desperate, way to do it, too. As Janet and Luther once proclaimed, the best things in life are free.