Rdio Now Offers Free, Customizable Radio Channels

The battle for streaming music dominance is heating up with a fresh maneuver by Rdio that brings free radio channels to the app for the first time.

From today users of the Rdio app will be able to listen to unlimited streaming music via a radio-like "Stations" themed by genre, artist, and other parameters. For now service is free, and also free of ads, but that probably won't last long. The move places Rdio in even more direct rivalry with Internet radio streaming services on offer from Apple, Spotify, and other apps.

Previously, Stations were available to paying customers only. Now, the free Stations feature is only accessible to Rdio users in Australia, Canada, and the U.S., probably thanks to the labyrinthine nature of international music licensing laws.

Seemingly from nowhere, the streaming music scene has quickly become one of the hottest battlegrounds in mobile tech. Apple's entry, via its new iTunes Radio service, came a little later than some smaller efforts like Spotify, Pandora, and Rdio itself. But thanks to the massive inertia offered by iTunes—which revolutionized digital music in the first place, via the iPod—it's already had a big impact. So big, in fact, that there is speculation about the long-term options for brands like Pandora. Apple added a new wrinkle to iTunes Radio yesterday when it revealed that pre-release albums would be available by streaming over iTunes Radio.

[Image: Flickr user Alan Levine]

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