My attempts to get into the beta program, so far, have failed, but I will tell you what I have been able to learn from “other sources”.
First, what is Rdio? In their words:
“Your music. Everywhere. Unlimited access to music from your computer and mobile phone, even when you’re offline.”
The first question is, what exactly does that mean? Well, it scans your current music library (either iTunes or Windows Media Player) and then builds your online database (from their source files). At that point your entire music library becomes available online from wherever you are, including your mobile phone, although, per their web site, it’s only iPhone and Blackberry at this point. But, it seems, Android was just added, although it’s not listed on on the Rdio site yet.
In addition, you can add any song or album on Rdio’s site to your playlist.
They have licenses in place with most major labels already, so there’s no problem getting the majority of most music collections. You may only miss a few indie bands.
The second question I had was about the “offline” part. And, how this works, is something I have not been able to confirm. But, I’ve heard reports that it actually does work.
The other big feature here, in addition to the music itself, is the social part. When you sign up you can follow other people. The site can even search your Twitter and Facebook lists and find people you follow there and add them to your Rdio friends list. You can then listen to your friends playlists as well as creating your own playlists to share.
Like I said, I haven’t used it yet, but it sounds good. It won’t replace Pandora, but it’s not out to do that. It’s a different kind of service. I am not sold on the social part. After all, I haven’t listened to any friends’ stations in Pandora since Facebook helpfully added them without my permission. But I am also not horrified by my musical tastes being shared, and in the long run, the service, as a whole, sounds like a glimpse into the future of where music is headed.