Rdio’s Major Redesign Gives Listeners A Unified View, Enhanced Sharing, Private Playlists & More

There’s currently a heated battle being waged between three of the biggest on-demand music streaming services — MOG, Spotify, and Rdio — each of which is trying to capture our hearts and ears by offering the best mobile experience for tunes on-the-go. You can check out Josh’s in-depth comparison of the battle for mobile supremacy here. While it wasn’t Josh’s top pick for music streaming on the tablet, Rdio is today taking a big step forward, launching a completely redesigned music listening and discovery experience, starting with the web and its desktop apps.

While the company initially unveiled its plans for its new listening experience at SXSW, today marks the first time the new Rdio will be available to all. Beginning right this very moment, Rdio says in a blog post, the new look is live for you to test, poke and prod. The new look and feel, the company believes, will make it faster, more social and easier to use, with notable features and upgrades including better “Collections,” drag and drop playlist creation, personalized “Heavy Rotation” functionality and private playlists.

The company has been busy extending its service across Europe, launching in Spain and Portugal in February, but all the while, it’s been focused on creating a new, better user experience to keep users engaged in the face of the heightened competition and growing popularity of MOG and Spotify. As Rdio says in its blog post, the site’s new look is meant to transform it into something “more than just a boring spreadsheet of songs.”

That starts with making browsing and discovery in one place — i.e. making navigation something that isn’t quite so time consuming. In the new design, music, playlists, and a user’s network are all now under one view. And, speaking of playlists, one of the most requested features, Rdio says, has been the ability to add whole albums to playlists, so today the startup will begin offering this functionality on both the web and in its desktop apps.

The new Rdio also allows users to browse a continuous stream of albums, and easily return to the place they left off. What’s more, à la Facebook and Spotify, users can now access a “People Sidebar” to see what their network is listening to in real time, with one-click listening. If you want to know why an album or song is appearing in top charts, or why it’s showing up in the new “Heavy Rotation” category, you can find out simply by hovering over photos to see which of your friends listened to the song, and inspired its being served up for you to see. The new People Sidebar also lets users easily find and follow Rdio’s influencers, like top artists, critics, record labels and brands.

Another highlight is Rdio’s new drag-and-drop functionality, which lets users drop music into playlists or share with their friends on the fly. Of course, with sharing overload becoming the norm, people want to have options beyond their public and collaborative playlists, which is why Rdio is now offering the ability to create private playlists with a few drag-and-drops. And if you feel the need to share those private playlists, you can do that now, too.

As on-demand, streaming music options battle for our ears, staying even with competitors is paramount — just as it is to continue iterating on the experience of social listening. We’re only just beginning to play around with Rdio’s new features, but at first look, this is a big step forward for the Rdio experience.

For more, check out the new look here, and take a peek at the video below: