Turning On The Rdio

My music collection has become super-sized. I can only keep up to 80GB of music in my iTunes, or else my car’s iPod cannot hold any more during a sync. I archive the rest of my collection on an external hard drive. It would be great to access my music at any time without having to sift through my library and choose what music stays in my iTunes and what music gets archived. 

After hearing Apple’s announcement about iTunes in the Cloud, I grew excited about being able to take my music with me wherever I go. However, when I heard that the iCloud service would not be doing cloud streaming, my plans were shot down. iTunes will upload and save my collection, but I have to re-download tracks whenever I want to hear them? Ridiculous! It’s a great locker for purchased music, but that’s what my external hard drive.

Then, I heard of Rdio.

Technically, I’ve heard tweetings of Rdio in the past, but initially looking into it back then, I thought it ran similar to another Last.fm or Pandora service…but one that costs money. I brushed it off.

With the frustration of iTunes’ non-streaming news, I decided to look into Rdio. They have a week-long free trial of their high-end service (i.e. web and mobile streaming), so I had nothing to lose. After a week with the service, I happily signed up.

Simply search for an artist, album, or track, and start listening. It’s that easy! Rdio gives the latest album releases and recommendations based on your listening history, so there shouldn’t be a bore in music selection. They’ve also added the ability to share songs and playlists to other Rdio users, and it even gives the option to let users collaboratively edit playlists.

The desktop application works as a great feature to the service. Instead of having the web browser open to listen to music, I can save a little on RAM and run Rdio in it’s own player. If I switch from app to browser or mobile, Rdio remembers where I left off in a song and continues right from there. If the desktop app has completely replaced iTunes as the primary music player, a user can disable the keyboard playback controls for iTunes and make them respond to the Rdio app instead. It also looked at my iTunes collection and “synced” my library—of what it could find on Rdio, as they don’t have everything—for easy artist searching.

My favorite feature of Rdio has to be the mobile app. Recent scenario: I became hooked on a new song from listening to a user-created playlist online. I want to listen to that song and the album for it in my car. Problem: I had 4 minutes before the end of the working day, and I wanted to get home ASAP. Rdio to the rescue! I simply selected the album for that song, and from a drop-down menu I chose, “Sync to Mobile.” Done! In under 2 minutes, the entire album downloaded to my iPhone. A Bluetooth sync later, and I’m listening to the album on my commute home. Simple ease-of-use!

Thanks to Rdio, I’ll be able to condense my local iTunes library to only songs I absolutely “need” in my car and music that Rdio does not have. 10 minutes with my collection the other day, and I easily dropped my iTunes down to 45GB of disk space.

If you’d like to discover more about Rdio, take a look at my profile. If you end up trying them out, add me!

Thank you, Rdio, for an awesome service.

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