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Summary:

Music subscription service Rdio, which exited beta last summer, has added a new platform for its on demand cloud-based library: the Roku. This adds Rdio to the list of streaming services discovering the unexpected popularity of music channels on the set-top box.

rdio options

Music subscription service Rdio, which exited beta last summer, has added a new platform for its on-demand streaming music library: Roku broadband set-top boxes. As of today, Roku users can sign up for the Rdio channel and begin sharing and discovering new music.

Founded and funded by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis — also the founders of Skype — Rdio offers cloud-based access to millions of songs for a monthly subscription fee: $4.99 for desktop-only access, and $9.99 for Rdio Unlimited, which includes access to mobile apps and now TV apps. Users that already have a Roku and Rdio Unlimited access can start playing music right now, but only in the US; unfortunately, the channel is currently unavailable to Canadian subscribers.

Rdio is far from the only music service available for the Roku — the official site currently lists 13 other music options, ranging from free internet radio stations to Pandora. Perhaps unexpectedly, though, these music options are heavily used by Roku owners. In an interview with Janko last September, CEO Anthony Wood said that music on the Roku was one of its most popular functions; at that point in time, Pandora was the second-most popular channel on the device.

There are some striking differences between the models for Pandora and Rdio — however, Rdio’s most direct competitor, MOG, has been available for a while on Roku, and was also cited by Wood as being very popular among Roku users.

Is there room for all of these options? Quite possibly, especially when you consider the reason why Wood, in that September interview, theorized a music-only service would be so popular on a set-top box. “It turns out,” he said, “that people don’t have stereos anymore.”

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  1. If you are are a music lover looking for free music on your Roku, check out Musiclouds, in the Music section of the Roku Channel Store. You can browse, search and listen to music from 8tracks, Jamendo and Soundcloud.

    Musiclouds features a unique, artistic user interface with animation and a beautiful built-in psychedelic screensaver (also available separately in the Roku Channel store.

    – Joel

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