Rdio update expands its free radio offerings, focuses on curation

Rdio has offered radio-like shuffle listening for quite sometime, but with its latest update, the service looks to be tops in free internet streaming. Across Android, iOS and desktop apps, the tune-minded outfit packs in new features that will help do just that, and it'll lend subscribers a hand with easily tracking down what they're after -- whether it's Stations, playlists, full albums or a single song. The free "Stations-first" option claims to offer a library that's 15 times larger than others with channels for selections based on genres and artists. What's more, there are also streams based on emotion or activity curated by folks at Rdio, and some handpicked by "tastemakers" (Snoop Dogg was offered as an example). There's a station that's unique to each user, too -- Billy FM is mine, for example -- learning from your listening habits to provide a mix to suit your favorites and yet another that's populated with tracks from your Collection.

Once you pick a station, you can adjust a slider at points between popular, familiar or favorites on one end and adventurous on the other to further tweak what Rdio will send your way. As you've probably guessed by now, Rdio is working alongside Cumulus to provide the free listening via advertising on both mobile and the web. There will also be branded stations where promotional partners control the playlist and the ad content. Macy's and Home Depot have already signed on, so you can look forward to those two, with many more to come, we'd surmise. Both the curated playlists and an app that continually learns from your habits may sound familiar. Beats Music has collections that are compiled by the likes of Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and others, asking about your music tastes along the way to fill out its Just For You listings.

In addition to the big push for its free streaming option, there's a revamped Home section that constantly updates with new "stories" based on listening preferences, activity from those tastemakers, what your friends are up to and recommendations from Rdio experts. You can think of "stories" as the "what's happening" feed that allows you to pick up right where you left off, see what's trending amongst your mates, peruse comments and more. In the side menu, Trending replaces Heavy Rotation and Top Charts for what's getting most of the plays across all of Rdio or within your circle of pals. There's a new Browse option as well, providing easy access to those genre, mood and other themed stations. All of the new features and expanded free radio are rolling out to Android, iOS and web users right now, so you should be able to try for yourself shortly.