Rdio, a music streaming service that works on the web, Mac, and iOS, is holding a press event today to announce a major redesign that, however, is already available to subscribers in the web browser. Once enabled, “New Rdio”, as the company is calling the new experience, shows a complete rethink of the music browsing and listening workflow behind Rdio.com.
New Rdio is a visually beautiful and dynamic way to play Rdio’s massive catalogue of 15 million songs. New features include the oft requested drag and drop playlist creation, a more personalized Heavy Rotation, and private playlists.
From a first test, it appears the new user interface is heavily based on sidebars and panels to manage your music collection, playlists, queue, and network of friends or people you should follow. Playlists have been updated, and it’s now possible to create them and manage them through drag & drop, as well as make new “private playlists” that you can choose to share with just a few people. A new sidebar on the left organizes people and music influencers by “Your network” and “Who to follow”. The Network tab is similar to Facebook’s own ticker system, in that it shows people you’re currently friends with and the music they’re listening to. Click on an item, and a popover will open allowing you check out a song right away. The suggestions tab is equally interesting, presenting people that Rdio thinks you should invite or follow on the service. The aforementioned drag & drop system has also been enabled for sharing – you can now grab an item from the main panel, head over a friend’s avatar, and share it. Twitter, Facebook, and email sharing are supported.
Search seems a lot faster than before, presenting results for artists, songs, or albums in a few seconds. The overall design feels cleaner, less crowded, and easier to use. As the company stated at its press event “We basically took Rdio apart and put it back together”. The app is more social, puts music and people front and center, and, more importantly, keeps more items and sections within a single page thanks to popups, sidebars, and panels. Furthermore, the new design also allows you to click through items – for instance, an album – and navigate back while maintaining page position, without having to scroll again. What I think is interesting, and will likely take some time getting used to, is that while the Heavy Rotation for your account is harder to access and has been seemingly also incorporated with your network’s rotation, people that are listening to same music as you are now always shown in the UI, your collection included. Top Charts, Recent Activity, Queue, and New Releases keep more or less the same functionalities as before, only with a new design.
The new Rdio experience has also been brought to the official Mac app, which was updated earlier today to version 2.0 and is capable of automatically switching to the new UI once enabled in your account. The app is now smarter at recognizing when music is playing on another location (such as the browser), and offers you a way to quickly switch playback to the desktop.
We will update this story with more screenshots and details from Rdio as the company details the new features at its media event. For now, New Rdio is available only to Web and Unlimited subscribers, with everyone else gaining access sometime in the future. A promo video of the new Rdio is embedded after the break.
Rdio web app
Rdio 2.0 for Mac