You can learn a lot about a person by browsing her record collection, scrolling through her iTunes library or checking out her playlists. Listening to music is a highly personal experience, and one of the perks of streaming is finding the one that best fits your music style.
On first impression, Rdio and Spotify seem identical. Through either, you can access a massive library of music, pick a song or album and listen at will, at price points of $5 (unlimited desktop listening) or $10 (unlimited desktop and mobile app streaming, plus offline syncing).
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That’s where the similarities end. Rdio feels especially geared towards fans hooked on music discovery, with its bright, clean interface and a smooth, organized experience.
For those just getting into the streaming game, Mashable created this beginner’s guide to kickstart your Rdio experience.
There’s no need to download a native desktop app first — sign up directly on rdio.com. The Rdio web player is identical to the OS X and Windows desktop apps, convenient for listening when not at your usual computer. You can sign up through Rdio via your Facebook account or create an Rdio account.
The drop-down menu in the top-right corner is your customization guide. From here, click “Apps” to learn about the desktop, web, mobile and accessory apps that suit your devices. “Settings” will help you manage your subscription, connect external accounts, edit personal info and opt in or out of email notifications.
The subscription models mirror Spotify’s, with a $5 unlimited desktop and browser streaming option and a $10 level that also includes unlimited mobile streaming plus offline syncing on mobile. However, Rdio’s free version, while ad-free, has a mysterious cap on how much you can listen to before it cuts you off, measured by an ambiguous meter that adapts to your listening habits.
Also under the settings “External” tab, connect your Rdio profile to your Facebook and Twitter accounts — it will pull a profile image and save you that extra step. Key feature: Last.fm compatibility. Connect your Last.fm account to Rdio and make sure your scrobbles stay up to date. Once you’ve linked your Rdio account, it stays connected if you log in via another computer’s native app or browser. This differs from Spotify, which requires you to re-enter your Last.fm credentials in order to scrobble songs from each new computer browser and app.
Rdio’s gorgeous, bright white interface contrasts with colorful album art — it’s the music discovery version of a candy store. Don’t let Rdio’s minimal number of left sidebar browsing tabs fool you — “Heavy Rotation,” “New Releases,” “Top Charts” and “Recent Activity” are all it takes to find your next favorite album.