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SXSW Report: Rdio Unveils New Look, Puts Emphasis on Sharing
Streaming music service adds helpful features, such as the ability to add albums to playlists and create private playlists.

While South by Southwest isn't primarily known for product announcements, streaming music service Rdio chose the festival to announce a major redesign of its site, one that makes playlist creation and music sharing easier.

The redesigned Rdio (pronounced "ar-dee-o") has a cleaner, whiter interface (the blue look is gone). It uses less space for navigation and more for surfacing recommended albums. It can also now adapt to the size of the window, showing much more content on larger screens.

Rdio's hallmark has always been its social approach. Members can follow others on the service, such as their friends or major music influencers (like Spin magazine), to gain useful recommendations. They can also create playlists to share with others. In the redesigned Rdio, members gain new sharing options, such as the ability to share entire albums, or to share a song, artist, album, or playlist with selected members only. The social panel on the right side of the screen can be hidden when not in use, allowing more space for the album view.

Speaking at today's announcement, Rdio vice president of product Malthe Sigurdsson (shown here) said that the developers had made the service faster, as well.

Rdio now has a library of over 15 million tracks, Sigurdsson announced. Already available in 9 countries, Rdio will move into over 2 dozen new countries in the next 9 months, he added.

SigurdssonSigurdsson was followed by Wilson Minder, Rdio's head of design. "We went back to ground zero and rebuilt the whole experience from the ground up," said Minder. The new interface is designed to be simpler, and looks a bit like a less cluttered iTunes. Rdio pages now offer a more consistent user experience.

Even small changes should make using Rdio more enjoyable. Minder showed how members can now scroll down the album feed, click on one album to go to its information page, then return to the same place in the feed when they hit the Back button. That lets members easily return to exactly where they left off.

Other helpful additions include the ability to easily see who recommended an album, and to share over Facebook and  Twitter by dragging and dropping. Member can also now unpublish and delete playlists, or create private playlists.

The redesigned Rdio is available to paid subscribers starting today. They'll need to select the new interface option to view it. Eventually, all member will be switched over to the new design. Pricing is $4.99 per month for desktop service and $9.99 for desktop, mobile, and wireless syncing.

Rdio New Look

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