It’s been two months to the day since Rdio launched in the States – check out Erick’s review if you’re interested in learning more about the (awesome) social music service.
But until today, you needed to be invited by another user to gain access to the service.
Not that it was all that difficult – users were able to invite dozens at a time and we gave away thousands of invite codes for TechCrunch readers – but still, the doors are now open.
Update: apologies, doors will actually open 8 AM EST Tuesday morning.
That is, if you live in the United States or Canada or at least know how to pretend you are.
Users in those countries can henceforth sign up for Rdio and give it a whirl free of charge and ad-less for a period of 3 days, although users get the option to extend the free trial with another 10 days after, according to the startup, which was founded and financially backed by Skype, Kazaa and Joost founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis.
Rdio, pronounced “ar-dee-oh”, costs $9.99 per month for unlimited Web and mobile access (including the ability to listen to music and playlists offline), and $4.99 for Web-only access.
Rdio says it recently expanded its music collection through deals with independent labels and aggregators, hitting the 7 million songs milestone. Apart from the major music labels, Rdio now boasts agreements with the likes of IODA, IRIS, Finetunes, INgrooves and The Orchard.
In addition, Rdio has attracted a number of music publications and other influencers (Spin Magazine, Pitchfork and Los Angeles’ KCRW Radio, to name but a few) to set up profiles and connect users with their favorite tunes (which can now be played without interruption, thank God).
The company has also been consistently updating its iPhone, Android and BlackBerry apps, as the mobile aspect of the offering is really key to their long-term strategy.
The public launch of Rdio in the US and Canada is bad news for European music startup Spotify, which hasn’t managed to make it Stateside yet, despite all its oft-expressed homes and dreams. Spotify says negotations with the labels are moving in the right direction, however, and that they’re confident they’ll be able to launch in the U.S. before year’s end.
Of course, Spotify is far from the only competition Rdio has or will have, with startups like Pandora and MOG doing very well. And let’s not forget three technology giants are plotting their own music-in-the-cloud push, too: digital music sales juggernaut Apple, Web giant Google and HP, still very much the largest information technology company in the world.
Curious to see what the future will hold for Rdio.
You please tell me what you think of it today, though.