June 2010

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New Features

Press Button, Play Music

Lots of people have told us that they just want to hit a button and listen to music for the next couple of hours — without selecting a specific song, album or playlist. Well, we feel the same way, so we’ve been tinkering with the artist radio feature, and yesterday we rolled out the changes made so far.

From the artist page, click the play button next to the artist name. Open the Player Window (the little list icon next to the Forward button in the player) and you’ll see what’s Now Playing. Select or de-select the checkbox next to “Mix in related songs”. If it’s not on, you get a big old list of songs just by that artist; when it’s on, you get a nice mix of songs by the artist you chose as well as similar artists. On the left-hand side you can also select how many songs you want — 100 songs should last you a good 6-7 hours.

The changes are subtle so far, but they are paving the way for us to be able to have you play your (or someone else’s) Heavy Rotation or Collection, which is another frequently requested feature. Stay tuned for that part.

So check it out — Wolf Parade is as good a place as any to start (although their new album, ‘Expo 86’, is great, so you could also just listen to that).

∞  June 30, 2010 — 12:00AM

New FeaturesNews

Mobile Updates

Hot off the heels of the latest update to Rdio for iPhone, last night we submitted a new version for Apple’s approval.

Unlike the previous one that only contained bugfixes, this update contains the much-anticipated features made possible by iOS 4: Background audio! Yep, that means you can listen to Rdio while browsing in Safari or writing an email, or whatever else you’re up to. It also means quick widget access to Play/Pause, Previous and Next buttons. And yes, the clicker on Apple’s headphones also works to play/pause and advance to next track. Now we’re just waiting for the approval from Apple, hopefully that shouldn’t take long.

Rdio for Android is also coming along nicely. Admittedly, the image above is straight from our designers’ Photoshop and not an actual screenshot, but even so, we have an early alpha version running, and hopefully we’ll be in the home stretch soon. We still can’t give a date for availability, but if you haven’t already, put your name on the list, and we’ll email you as soon as it’s ready.

∞  June 24, 2010 — 12:00AM


Update to Rdio iPhone app still waiting for Apple's approval

As mentioned a couple of days on Twitter, we’re still waiting for Apple’s approval of the latest version of our iPhone app. We already have an approved app in the store, so it’s a bit mysterious why a simple update to fix some bugs is taking so long.

The update has been in review since May 26, and we’ve spoken to representatives from the App Store review team a couple of times on email and phone, where they asked us a bunch of questions about Rdio, but very little about the app. They promised to get back to us by Tuesday June 1, but we’ve yet to hear anything.

We’ve heard no complaints about the app crashing, using private APIs or not functioning as advertised - which were the three reasons Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently listed as the reasons an app would not get approved.

We are sorry that our paying customers are having to wait 15 days (and counting) for Apple’s team to get around to approving our app - or at the very least telling us what we need to change, if anything.

∞  June 11, 2010 — 12:00AM


It's alive!

It’s difficult to predict what people will think about your product, but it’s always nice to finally launch something you’ve spent a long time building. It’s even nicer when so many people are saying so many nice things about it.

Great feedback

We opened up for invites last Thursday, and feedback, reactions and questions (and invite requests) have been pouring in since. In a completely self-serving fashion, here are some of our favorites:

“Oh snaps. 5 minutes of @rdio and I am already in love. Thanks @macthe :D”

“Roses are red. Violets are blue. dearest @rdio I <3 you.”
“After 48 hours, I can say with confidence: @rdio is the best thing since sliced bread. I’ve got a couple invites, who wants one? DM me.”

Trial and success

We’re equally blown away by how many invites you have sent in such short time, and in turn how many people are activating their accounts – we know you have a lot else to do, so we appreciate you taking Rdio for a spin.

When you do, remember that you also have access to our mobile apps during the free trial. And if you don’t think three days is quite enough, you can extend the trial by 10 days when your first three have passed. If your trial runs out and you decide to not subscribe and come back later, your account will still be there, with collection, playlists and followees intact.

And now to something completely different

It’s not all roses, hi-fives and dancing in the streets, of course. You’ve also been sharing a number of concerns and complaints. The top things you’d like to know about or would like to see improved are:

1. Android app, where art thou?

It’s literally in the works, and we have internal alpha versions running, but it’s not ready to share with you yet. And for fear of Murphy’s Law, we won’t try and predict a date for it, but rest assured it’s our current top development priority. Add yourself to the list to be notified when it’s available.

2. Where’s this song or that album, and why’s this thing clip only?

Building up a good catalog of music is the single most important thing we’re doing. Snazzy design and amazing technology gets us nowhere if the stuff you want to listen to is not there. We already have the catalog of the major labels and several great indie labels and aggregators, and we’re working on getting more onboard every day. We will announce new partners as they become available. If you are a distributor, aggregator or label and would like to have your catalog available on Rdio, please contact us.

In addition, rights for music is alas not a straightforward endeavor, so at times we end up only having clips available. We listen to music all day ourselves, and we don’t love that either, and we’re actively trying to secure the rights to play the full songs.

3. Where are you available? US only? When are you going to expand to other countries?

The invite-only preview is only available in the US. If you are a US-based user and you have invites, you can invite people who are based in other countries, but they can’t activate their account. When they accept the invite, we record what country they are in and will notify them when Rdio is available there. If they are moving around, they can accept the invite multiple times and we’ll update their location.

We can’t discuss when and where we’ll be available outside the US, but it’s certainly our aspiration to be a world-wide service.

4. Rdio Desktop is an AIR app and not everybody thinks that is awesome.

Adobe AIR is very well suited for quickly producing lightweight applications, but it does come at the cost of having to install additional software and sometimes an experience that doesn’t fit exactly with the OS you’re running. We’re weighing the options for other ways of building apps — achieving a great experience is our main goal.

Keep it coming

We want and need to hear your feedback – what’s missing, what’s not working and what you are confused about. Please let us know on Twitter on @Rdio, or, if you have an account, click the link to our support site in the footer.

∞  June 8, 2010 — 12:00AM


Rdio Preview is ready

Hello there! It’s been a while, but we’re now ready to let more people start using Rdio (pronounced r-dee-o). Starting today, current users will receive a number of invitations, so they can invite their friends to check it out.

If you haven’t heard about Rdio yet, it’s a new music subscription service available on the web, iPhone and BlackBerry, with an Android app coming soon. You can also sync music to your phone and play it when you’re offline.

Rdio takes the work out of finding and choosing what to play next — you can follow friends and other people with great taste in music, get inspired by what they’re playing, and listen to their playlists. You don’t have to sit and stare at an empty search field, trying to think of what to play.

We’ve got music from labels large and small, majors as well as indies — they’re listed on our Content Partners page. We’re constantly adding more music, so if you don’t see something you’re looking for, it’ll probably appear soon.

Rdio is initially available in the US, and will roll out to other parts of the world soon. Rdio Unlimited costs $9.99/month and works on the web and smartphones, while Rdio Web is $4.99/month and is web-only. There’s a free trial, so you can check it out without paying.

We’d love to hear what you think — leave us a note in our forum, or message us on Twitter.

And many thanks to our early private beta testers — you know who you are!

∞  June 3, 2010 — 12:00AM