Rdio, the popular music streaming service, recently released its next iteration to the public. New Rdio, which had been in beta for several months, has been perfected into a beautiful experience that proves that there is life after iTunes.
For those unfamiliar with it, Rdio is a social music streaming service that enables you to listen to an enormous catalogue of music from your computer or phone. You can collaborate on playlists, track what your friends are listening to, and even listen to streaming music offline via the mobile version’s ingenious Sync feature. Rdio is beautiful and fast: I, personally, like to think of it as Spotify’s sophisticated older cousin.
More than just an iteration of the previous version, the app gives the impression that it has been torn apart and rebuilt better, faster, and stronger than it was before. It’s fast – blazingly fast – compared to it’s predecessor. The interface is silky-smooth both functionally and aesthetically. And, best of all, it incorporates features that had been on everyone’s wish-list: drag-and-drop albums into your playlist, see what your friends are listening to at a glance, and (finally) add full albums into playlists.
Rdio has always been popular amongst thought leaders in the design industry: a quick glance at my “Following” list reveals a userbase which includes Jeffrey Zeldman, Naz Hamid, Ethan Marcotte, and others. If you’re in the mood to reminisce, you can pull up Zeldman’s public playlists and start listening to the An Event Apart 2010 soundtrack. That’s the Rdio experience in a nutshell.
Poignantly, Rdio’s design director Wilson Miner recently announced that he was moving on from the company, making this Rdio’s last major release with him at the helm. In his brilliant talk “When We Build,” Miner says that our work should reflect our vision for the world we want to live in. Judging by New Rdio, the world he envisions must be something to see.