Popular streaming music service Rdio today announced that it has overhauled its internet radio feature, Stations, to allow for more personalized playlists.
Chief among the changes is a new option dubbed “You FM,” which automatically creates a station based on your listening history, what artists you like or follow on Facebook and Twitter, and information pulled from music data company The Echo Nest. Rdio says that your You FM station will better know your tastes the more you use it, giving you more incentive to stick with the service over time.
You FM appears alongside a visual redesign of the radio player, which emphasizes album artwork and lets you upvote and downvote tracks. The new look also gives you an option to randomize the tracks on a particular playlist based on how “familiar” or how “adventurous” you want your next songs to be.
We gave You FM a spin earlier today and found it to work as simply as advertised. It’s listed as the first station under Rdio’s existing Stations tab (“Jeff FM” for yours truly), and instantly booted up a playlist of artists that this indie and electronic music listener enjoys. And per usual with Rdio, it’s all presented through an attractive, very easy-to-comprehend interface.
Rdio touts that it now offers 10 different types of stations, each of which draw from its library of roughly 20 million tracks. It says that you’ll now be able to start a station just by searching for a particular artist or song, and that there’s now almost 400 stations based on various sub-genres (West Coast Rap, Shoegaze, etc.). You can also create stations based on the tastes of your friends across social media.
Again, we found all of these claims to hold true in our time playing around with the revamped radio. Simply entering “Daft Punk” into the search bar at the top of the Station tab brought us an appropriately organized list with the titular French duo at the top, followed by handful of songs with the words “Daft Punk” in their title. Firing up the Grunge station gave us some classic Dinosaur Jr., Mudhoney and the like. And clicking on the \”People\” tab gave us a look at what our friends and followed artists are digging these days. Spending one click on any of these results brought us right into a playlist of relevant tracks.
Rdio’s renewed radio efforts come as a challenge to top services like Spotify and internet radio king Pandora, which continue to see more regular users. The new Stations features are not limited to premium members, but the company is hoping that the increased personalization will sway more users away from its limited free service–which is only available for two weeks for mobile devices and six months on desktops–and towards its $10 monthly subscription.
The moves also arrive in a streaming market that’s only gotten more crowded in recent months, though. Established giants like Google, Twitter and Microsoft have recently increased their efforts in the field, while Apple is set to launch its free iTunes Radio service later this year. We like what we’ve seen from Rdio’s new radio so far, but it\’s nothing earth-shatteringly new, and it will have plenty of competition going forward.