The Rdio music subscription service, from the co-creators of Skype, made its name by letting users follow each other the way they would on Twitter or Facebook. As such, it may have seen some of its thunder stolen by Facebook’s big music initiative, which gives similar social features to 12 music services and counting — and does so, of course, on Facebook, which hundreds of millions of people already use regularly.
Rdio reacted to Facebook’s move on Thursday by removing the requirement that users enter a credit card in order to use the service for free to listen to over 12 million songs either on Rdio or via Facebook — and by giving everyone a set amount of free music each month, rather than capping the trial at seven days per user. These changes are crucial for Facebook integration, because otherwise you’d need to fork over a credit card and sign up for a free trial just to hear the Rdio song your friends have listened to.
However, when Evolver.fm asked Rdio how much free music users get per month, the company declined to answer.
“We don’t want our users to have to worry about how many songs they have left,” said TK. “We want them to enjoy the service and listen to music as they please. However, by enabling a bit of flexibility on how much free music we give away to our users, we can provide this service in a way that makes economic sense. We’d rather do it this way than bombard people with ads… When you run out of free music in any given month, you can choose to upgrade to any of Rdio’s existing pricing plans or start free anew the following month.”
Rdio’s announcement calls this the “first ever free, on-demand music streaming [service] without ads,” which appears to be true, now that MOG has added advertising to its free version. Speaking of MOG, it seems Rdio pretty much lifted the idea of giving users a gauge with which they can tell how much more free music they have for the month from MOG, although to be fare, MOG founder David Hyman told Evolver.fm that Dropbox was the inspiration for that company’s move.
Non-paying users have access to Rdio’s whole feature set, according to the announcement:
· Stream full songs on-demand
· See and hear what your friends and other influencers are listening to in real-time
· Share on Twitter and Facebook
· Create custom and collaborative playlists
· Build a personalized profile and digital music collection
· Get music recommendations based on your tastes
· Listen to artist and label radio stations
Subscribing still costs $5 to remove monthly listening limits on the web or using Rdio desktop software, while $10 does the same while adding the ability to use smartphones, iPads, Sonos, and/or Roku and the ability to cache music for playback without an internet connection. The company also offers a unique family plan.
So, what’s the big picture here? Basically, that music fans have another free option for playing their friends’ music via Facebook without a credit card.