Rdio review

There's a new music streaming service in town. Let the hunt for AC/DC begin again

It's hard to find an AVR these days that doesn't feature the Spotify music-on-demand platform. Yet it has its rivals, notably Deezer and, in the UK as of this year, Rdio.

The latter is the brainchild of Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, and is based around two payment models. A £4.99 per month subscription gives you unlimited web access to a library of apparently 18million songs (I haven't counted). Stepping up to £9.99 per month allows streaming via mobile devices, (including syncing for offline use), Sonos and Roku hardware. Unlike Spotify, there's no free, ad-supported option, although there's a generous six-month trial for the web access model, and no download is required.

Rdio's strong points include its immaculate user interface, which puts the desktop Spotify GUI to shame with its clean, logical layout. Creating playlists, shuffling tracks and browsing is a pleasure.

Those with a penchant for rock will find the lack of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and The Beatles annoying. However, Spotify doesn't claim these either (but does have Metallica's back catalogue, which Rdio doesn't). Sound quality is passable. Rdio doesn't state what bitrate is used – just 'CD-quality' – but for everyday listening I have no complaints.

I got Rdio onto my surround system via my Roku LT player. The UI is less accomplished, but if an improved version arrives on more hardware, you should at least check it out.


From £4.99 per month (subscription)