Whoa. If you're an Rdio user, or about to sign up for an Rdio account, you're about to notice a huge shift in design, functionality and features available to you. It's a redesign so massive that Rdio itself says it's the "biggest change since the introduction of Rdio".
The update centres around Rdio's Stations offering, as well as the look of the Android, iOS, web and desktop apps.
During the redesign, Rdio recognised that too many people were bailing out of the set-up process that saw them choose who to follow, what they liked listening to and other obnoxious questions.
As a result, Rdio is dropping new sign-ups into a free radio experience from the second they enter their details as a new customer. No credit cards down, no free trials to agree to and no set-up: it just throws you at the clean radio experience.
Users are dropped into a what Rdio is calling the Home Feed, and asked to set-up from there.
That Home Feed is now the centre of the Rdio experience.
New Home Feed
The new Home Feed is based around the idea of around "Music Stories".
When you drop into the new Home Feed, it will include a set of music recommendations for users, complete with explanatory notes on how they got into your Feed. It's then arranged like a social feed which is time based. As you move around Rdio and listen to new music, the personalised Feed is always refreshing to give you new music. Rdio calls it a living music magazine, just for you.
Stations, albums and songs moving down the Home Feed all scroll horizontally to reveal additional tracks. You still get artist stations in your Feed, as well as and YouFM stations.
Scrolling down beyond the initial horizontal scroll exposes each and every one of those stories to see how stations were built and listen to more granular tunes, and education stories where you can find people to follow.
You can still follow people and brands that you like on Rdio, but it has been taken out of the on-boarding process to get you set-up faster and easier.
Rdio is also introducing a new station type called Human Curated Stations built by the people who work at Rdio. Stations like "Spa Day" and "Summer BBQ" will all form part of the weekly playlist drops.
The Rdio app will also now expose comments your friends have made similar to friends on Facebook. Comments used to be buried on Catalogue pages, but the new home feed surfaces albums that your friends talk about so you can engage with friends about music.
The new Home Screen will also give you a "Dig Deeper" view that gives you more songs, B-sides, singles, remixes and re-issues from artists you've listened to.
Despite the fact that free users get a lot more with the new Rdio, paid users still get a more rich experience at the end of the day.
Free users can only listen to stations, but paid users get more stuff. You can listen to individual albums and songs as well as stations and tastemaker/curated playlists. Curated content is promoted onto the homepage based on the listening tastes of individual users, and those curated playlists will be updated every Tuesday for new content direct from Rdio.
Rdio will also introduce a new Heart favourite button next to the play button on Station Catalogue Pages.
Favouriting has been overhauled so that you can now start collecting favourites. Songs, albums, stations, playlists and artists can now be favourited.
When you favourite, you get that station added to your specific Favourites feed page, and it helps Rdio customise your whole music experience so that Rdio can learn more about you.
It's like tweaking your personal YouFM page for the whole of Rdio.
New Apps, New UI
For the Web app, Rdio has taken advantage of more screen real estate on desktop to inject more white space into the UI while also adding more information about the albums and stations you're listening to. It also shows you what you're friends are listening to in real time.
The Mac and Windows apps are also getting these updates. Rdio is able to push "wrapper" updates with new UI updates on the same day, so nobody misses out.
You'll start noticing the changes to Rdio from today!