A good idea, but Rdio Android app a little too costly

by Caitlin M. Foyt

The Internet has made so many different genres and sub-genres of music available. Instead of making finding music easier, though, I've found that it's actually made it more difficult. The Rdio app for your Android phone might help make this process a little less intimidating.

Rdio is a social music subscription service that allows you to discover music through friends, suggested users, top listeners and "tastemakers," music mags and radio stations that "know what's cool first." You start at the app's mother web site. This is a sort of satellite for a lot of your app's information.

At Rdio.com, there's an option to find your friends either on Facebook or Twitter. However, after I connected my Rdio account to both of my social networking accounts, I clicked "find your friends" and was directed to a page that said "page not found." I couldn't figure out how to get this to work. That might be because I was only using the free trial of Rdio, but I can't say for sure.

Because I was kind of banking on checking out what my more hip friends listen to, I was a little bummed out by this. (I suppose, in retrospect, this might have been a blessing. Other people on your network can see what you listen to, and I'm not sure I want people I know to judge me.) So, I bypassed this step, and began following some recommended users and tastemakers to get started. This is when I went back to my phone to start listening to some music.

Click on the dashboard, and then select "heavy rotation" to see photos of the albums that people in your network are listening to. Just by clicking on these, you can listen to them. If you choose to become a subscriber, any song or album you like can be added to your collection. As you build up songs, you can begin to create playlists, which can be shared with other people. You can also access other users' playlists.

Over time, Rdio will start to learn what you like. It uses your collection and listening history, as well as what others with seemingly similar music taste like, to give you recommendations.

Another cool feature on Rdio, is the Queue. This, too, is an option that you modify at the web site. Just like the way Netflix works, add songs or artists that you'd like exposure to at a later time. What's great about this option is that you can add all of those obscure bands you've heard great things about, but haven't had the chance to check out for yourself. Then, when you have time, like when you're stuck in traffic, you can see what all the fuss is about.

Based on using the free trial of this app, I'm not fully confident in its ability to perform. I had difficulty connecting with friends on other social networking sites, and had some trouble finding my way around the app. Also, I wasn't impressed by the price of a monthly subscription for the service. When you do the math, Rdio will cost you $120 per year. If you are someone who spends this amount on music annually, Rdio is probably worth the investment, but, because I don't buy music so often anymore, I can't personally recommend it.