Almost one year ago many of us sat enthralled before our computers as we watched Felix Bomgartner slowly ascend into the sky, not stopping until he reached the stratosphere. The rise was painfully slow, but the man had a much quicker plan to return to earth. At a height so dizzying that the curvature of the earth was visible, Bomgartner emerged from his capsule, said a few words, gave a salute and leaped from his platform.
Now Rdio, a service known mainly for audio, has announced a new documentary of that epic leap from the edge of space. “We’re taking an exciting leap with Red Bull to present Mission to the Edge of Space: The Inside Story Behind Red Bull Stratos, the documentary on the historic space dive project. The film will be available exclusively on rdio.com/redbullstratos for three months beginning on October 14, 2013, which marks the one-year anniversary of Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall from 24 miles above Earth”, the company announced.
However, Rdio is a music service, and songs play a big part in this release. So, for now, you can listen to the inspiring playlists created by the crew from the Red Bull Stratos project.
The digital music market continues to heat up with a growing amount of competitors, such as Pandora, Spotify, Google Music All Access, Xbox Music and others. Now Rdio today announces that it will try to stay competitive by introducing customized, personal channels for your music.
“We’re thrilled to reveal the new and improved Stations today. We’ve made stations smarter and custom-tailored to you, creating an effortless listening experience that highlights the best of Rdio: elegant design and social discovery”.
The new enhancement gets top-billing in the left column. You can click Stations to find new station types like popular genre stations and You FM — a station comprised of artists and songs inspired by your taste in music.
The new feature includes You FM, which is a brand new, personalized, adjustable station that leverages Taste Profiling technology from The Echo Nest and incorporates all your listening history, track voting, Facebook likes, Twitter follows, and more to create a truly unique and individualized listening experience. As your tastes grow and evolve, so does You FM.
Twitter Music released today to the general public. I have been playing around with it for the last couple of hours. When you go the website the first thing you will see are the most popular tracks . You can choose from Popular, Emerging, Suggested, Now Playing and Me. How they are curating some of these categories such as Suggested and Emerging isn’t clear. So far I haven’t recognized a lot of the artist on my suggested list, that is neither good or bad just interesting. To play a song you simply tap on it. If you have a premium Spotify or Rdio account you can play the full song, if not it plays a 30 second clip, which appears to be an iTunes preview. Which makes me wonder what happens when you come to a song that isn’t on iTunes. When you play a song a rotating circle appears at the bottom of the screen. If you are on a iPhone and you tap on the rotating circle it will go full screen. You can fast forward or rewind by swiping the outer ring of the circle backward and forward. You can go to the next song by simply swiping to the left. To stop it you just tap on it. You can control the volume directly in the app. If you are using the web version and tap on the same rotating circle you are shown a view of the artist twitter profile page. If you tap on the right arrow on you keyboard it will take you to your next song. You can swipe forward or backwards with in the song by using your mouse, although it is very hard to control. I haven’t discovered any keyboard short cuts for that, but I might be missing something.
There are a couple of things I noticed right away. The first was there is no way to save a song or tag it to buy later. Unfortunately, to play a full version of a song you must have either of a premium Spotify or Rdio account. I had no problem connecting to my Spotify account on the iOs version. At first the connection to Spotify wasn’t working on the web version, however it is now. It is an iOs app only and is built for the iPhone or iPod, although it does play fine on the iPad. Since I have an Android phone I am hoping they bring it to the Android platform soon. I am not sure how much I am going to use it I like the ability to check out emerging artist and what my friends are listening to. I think it will be something I start playing and then let it run in the background when I just want to listen to music, but don’t care what it is.
I am on the look out for new music and I want to hear it before I buy it. At this point of time I have iTunes and Pandora. I like them both, but they both have their weaknesses. iTunes is great way to store music you already own, but it’s not very good at finding new music. The iTunes Genius has never worked very well for me and listening to even 90 seconds of music is not very helpful. Pandora is a little better at discovery, but you have little control over the music it plays once you have entered initial song.
So I was looking for something that would let me discover new music, and allow me to listen to it both on my Mac, and my iPhone. I was looking for a good subscription service. I had heard some good things about Rdio so I decided to try it. When I first opened up Rdio on the web I was initial disappointed, I wasn’t sure what to do, they do have a grid of albums wich are in heavy rotation, which is nice but not what I was really looking for.
Then I saw the search bar at the top and I entered the name Velvet Underground A page came up with a list of their albums and popular songs. On the right hand column are a list of band members. Below that are artist that are similar to them, those they influenced and who influenced them. On the mobile app once you choose an artist their page will pop up. It will have a list of that artist albums and most popular songs. If you play the artist radio station it will play that artist and those that are similar. You can also look at the playlist of other users who like the same artist. Next to a song there is a plus sign if you click on it you can add the song to your collection, sync to your mobile device, add to a playlist, or remove from playlist. Once you start playing a few songs if you go to the home screen and hit Recommend, Rdio will offer recommendations based on what you have played. You can also have Rdio scan your iTunes library and it will bring all songs they have licenses to into your Collection folder.
I do like Rdio so far, I am finding a lot of new music and rediscovering music I had forgotten about. I have 3 more days before I will have to pay the $9.99 subscription fee. I do wish they had a how to use video when you first sign up for the initial trial period. If you use Rdio have you run into any problems. If you use some thing else what is it and why.