While this may not shock you, San Francisco is a hub for digital music innovation. Back In December 2009 we highlighted 2 of SF’s most passionate digital music innovators, Marisol Segal (Executive Director Partnerships & Business Development, rdio) & Todd Berman (VP Engineering, rdio). And last night while (if?) you slept, wondering what you would do now that lala is gone – the antidote for your woes launched in San Francisco.

Good morning, rdio!

From Skype & Kazaa founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, comes a giant new cloud based streaming catalog of music, old & new, major & indie, called rdio. In addition to streaming, rdio enables listeners to download the DRM free mp3s. Share them. Share playlists. Export them. Take them with you.

Music played by your friends shows up in a feed to help you discover new music while streaming the hell out of your own collection, or anything from the expansive catalog available through rdio, fully licensed from both major and indie labels.

We have to wonder: How the hell did rdio launch so quietly without a
single leak?! We think it’s because
rdio picked their initial beta testers strategically. Maybe rdio
learned from the mistakes of others: there’s no need to be “cool”
during your initial launch – especially when you launch a music
product. Cool is a fad…and a good music product must transcend the
whims of a fairweather community to honor the timeless product it
sells. While fads exist in both tech product launches and music,
(called “hits” of course) the art itself is not a fad and deserves the
utmost respect. Big ups to SF’s own rdio for recognizing the need for
dignity in launch, showing respect for the craft it sells and the
engineers who build it.

Most importantly, rdio is clean & focused: using it is easy and fun.  And it works. I haven’t had a single skip in my tracks. Also notable is the fidelity:  rdio sounds better than lala. As an early beta tester (before the day lala’s music died) I did a comparison and listened to the same song in both platforms – the fidelity is noticeably better on rdio. (If you are a tester, let us know what you think…)

Here’s a glimpse of the dashboard feed, informing me of my friend’s activity and inspiring me to continue adding albums to my collection.

When i do that, I can play them using the desktop player or just login to rdio.com. There’s also an iPhone app in early phases.

my rdio dashboard

To encourage a cliche, We’d love to see what you are listening to and since LaLa went the way of the Dodo  – and rdio is still in private beta – you’ll need an invitation to join.

We’re giving 3 invites to the first 3 SF Appeal readers best three comments (in the opinion of the writer) from SF Appeal readers  telling us why you want to use rdio. Not your thesis, just say why – because these invites are valuable!

UPDATE: I will announce winners as a comment at the end of the day today

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