Rdio, the music streaming service owned by Skype, announced yesterday that users can now listen to its 12-million song library free of charge. And in hopes of getting a leg up on competitors like Spotify and MOG, Rdio is making its no-cost plan completely ad-free.
Of course, as with any free service, there’s a catch: Users can only listen to a limited number of songs per month—the exact number of which Rdio doesn’t specify—before they’re forced to pay. A meter at the top of each user’s profile is supposed to show how close they are to reaching their free-music threshold, but according to Mashable, it’s a “mostly ambiguous rendering.” The amount of free songs will also vary by user, depending “on a number of factors, including monthly use,” according to Bloomberg.
On top of that, subscribers to Rdio’s free plan will only be able to listen to music on their computers, either through the service’s website or its desktop app, and won’t be able to access Rdio through mobile devices.
If users want unlimited or mobile music, they’ll have to shell out for one of Rdio’s subscription plans: $4.99 a month gets you unlimited streaming through your Web browser or desktop, while $9.99 a month gives you that plus mobile streaming.
“We believe content is valuable, and that ultimately people should have to pay,” Rdio CEO Drew Larner told Bloomberg in an interview. “We’ll pay money out the door to the labels, but we think we can get enough conversions to strike the right balance.”