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Inside the new music streaming service Rdio, quick review and gallery

Last week news broke of Rdio, the new brainchild of the Kazaa and Skype creators. Everyone was very briefly elated until they found out a) it's USA-only, and b) it's still in the middle of private beta testing. Still, thanks to the kindness of a Download Squad reader, and some network hacking (I live in the UK), I can now tell you all about Rdio! If you prefer pictures, there's a high-resolution gallery after the break.

First, it's entirely Web-based, with a very lightweight almost-no-features Adobe AIR app providing desktop access. The Web interface is seriously slick: a music player occupies the left, and fancy AJAX updates the right. Much to my delight, even back and forwards navigation works! (It's about time an AJAX site made it work...)

Second, I can confirm there's a lot of music available. Still no Beatles though! It'a a breeze to create collections, playlists, or download music. It actually feels a lot like, but with a more responsive interface.

Third, the recommendation engine is pretty good. I wonder if they coded it themselves or licensed something from or Pandora.

Finally... the social aspect! This really is Spotify meets You can see your entire music listening history (pretty cool) -- but you can also see your friends' entire history (a bit scary).

The only bad thing, other than the very feature-light desktop app (you actually queue stuff up on the website, then use the desktop app to control it), is the least generous beta testing invite EVER. I have a grand total of THREE DAYS to try out Rdio before I have to subscribe. Web-only subscription costs $4.99/month, incidentally. It's $9.99/month for mobile phone syncing.

Anyway, take a look through the gallery of high-res screenshots. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have -- just leave a comment!

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Tags: gallery, music, on demand, OnDemand, rdio, reviews, spotify, streaming