Developer: PULSER MUSIC SERVICES
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 0.5
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3G

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★½☆☆
Re-use Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

The allure of cloud computing is the ability to access any of your content wherever you might happen to be (provided you have some form of connectivity). The one area where cloud computing has yet to make significant inroads, at least here in the US, is storing and playing your music from the cloud. Spotify, which has taken on near-mythical proportions in the States, may appear at some point but until then options are relatively scant. The most recent entry into this less-than-crowded arena is Rdio, a service still in beta at the moment, but with a promising iPhone app and some nice features to help bridge the gap between your music collection on your home computer and your collection in the cloud

Once you sign up for an account, (there’s a free three day trial with no strings attached, and you can extend your trial by ten more days if you provide a valid credit card number; after that it’s $9.99 per month) you can connect to your account via your computer’s web browser or through the iPhone app. The app allows you to browse your collection (all songs and albums you have saved to your personal account), view playlists and partially edit playlists, search the Rdio online collection for more music to add to your account, and sync your iTunes music collection with your Rdio one. The sync feature is truly unique, as it searches your computer’s iTunes library and finds all songs that match up with Rdio’s offerings. My results were pretty good – the service found almost 600 of the 1,000 or so songs in my library, and that means there’s that much music that I do not have to enter into the Rdio service by hand. And as Rdio adds more music licenses, you can continue to sync and add new music from your collection. You can also choose to sync/download the music you have in your cloud collection to your iPhone. This is ideal if you are going to be on a plane or somewhere where there isn’t wireless or 3G access.

As mentioned above, the playlist function in the iPhone app only allows for partial editing. In other words, you can remove songs from existing playlists, but you can’t create new playlists or add anything to the playlists already in the app. Likewise, when you search for new music you can add it to your collection, and even immediately play it, but you can’t add it to a playlist. I’m assuming this functionality will be added in the near future, but for the moment it’s sorely lacking. I’d really like an iPhone app that is completely free from dependance on a desktop computer, but Rdio isn’t there yet.

After an interminable and inexplicable delay from Apple, Rdio has finally released an update to its iPhone app. Surprisingly, it doesn’t offer much in terms of new features, but does increase the stability and performance of the app. This version of Rdio is still very much a work in progress, and it shows, but if the developers can get these and other issues ironed out (I had random volume changes and abrupt crashes throughout my test of the app) they will have a service ready to compete in the next big change coming for the music industry. Until then, I suggest you try…not buy. I do have about eight or so invites to Rdio left, so feel free to email me at chris.kirby@148apps.com. The first eight requests get them.

Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Music, Reviews

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