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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  • Richmondsfblog

    I would love an invite! I’m a big music lover and am always looking for solutions NOT run by Apple. Rdio sounds swesome. Thanks!

  • fsharp

    I miss Lala and I’m tired of my MP3s. I need to freshen up my music.

  • champro

    I have been bemoaning the loss of lala for three whole days! The grieving process is over. Time to move on! I need to start checking out these new services to pair with my emusic account. Thanks for the invite! Hopefully.

  • the set

    I am all about the Cloud holding my tunes! boot the non-cloud overlords to the curb, is there room for a 4th invite!?

  • Adina

    Rats, missed the first 3! If you’re giving out more beta logins I’d love it.

    I am experiencing Lala withdrawal – loved that service as an easy to use way to get a first listen to new music, and choose what to buy.

  • Corey Denis

    hmmm tell me more about your lala withdrawal…..

  • Adina

    So, I used lala a lot to explore music. For example, I went to a great show last week with Regina Spector. I really liked the players in her band, so I looked them up and found that two of the musicians in her group also led their own groups, and listened to their recordings. Then when I like I buy music. Lala’s “first-listen-free” approach was fantastic for this sort of exploration. It’s search and search results were very clear, and the player was easy to use.

    In the few days since lala went away (sniff) I’ve been using mog with the 30 day starbucks promotion, but the usability is much worse – search results are harder to navigate, the player requires a lot of eye-hand coordination and is confusing.

    I miss the ease of use, and the search – play – buy model.

  • sunny2477

    I actually use the current Kazaa subscription service and would love to check out the differences to see which one really is better 🙂


  • James

    Now with Lala gone, I have to listen to one coworker explain to the other how the evolution of contemporary zombie movies can be traced back to a French Smurfs comic strip from the 1950’s.

    Please help.

  • Pumpkin Pie

    I thought it said “download the free mp3s” but it says “download the DRM free mp3s.” That’s cool. Musicians, keep on shredding!

  • Parappa

    I would love to try Rdio because I’ve always believed that great music should be shared and enjoyed without limitation by time or place. It sounds like Rdio is working hard to evolve music discovery & delivery to make this dream a reality!

  • Patrick

    Besides being a complete invite whore, I’d love to try out a new music service. I currently use spotify, which is OK. Not to mention only available in the UK…thank god for friends in Europe 🙂 I’d really appreciate it!

  • DummyTron

    I can not live in Cloudless world. I want to have the ease of mind that I am listening to music that is not killing as many trees and natural resources as normal music does. Itunes damages the environment so much with all the servers it has to run provide you with a music catalog. Music from a cloud puts less stress on the environment and I can boogie to my satisfaction.

  • mikeak

    I drive hours every week without access to radio or wireless towers. I have tried multiple music platforms that allows streaming and am right no so sick of how Rhapsody works (come on who has a setup that requires clearing the queue.

    In addition I am Swedish – the founders are Swedish – I should be a part of this :). It will be safer for me on the road with rdio on the iphone with access to the music offline. I will even consider moving to California if I get one of these invites. I heard you need more taxpayers there….


  • mikeak

    I should add that I have been waiting for Spotify to come out in the US. My family back home has it and they LOVE it. Everyone has it on their phones and ipods. BUT I think that rdio will equal or be better than Spotify so definately wouldn’t mind proving that to them!!!

  • Corey Denis

    OK! thanks!

    Mikeak, pumpkinpie & mikeak – you win!

    email me corey@sfappeal.com for your invite if you don’t get one in the next 2 hours.

    have fun with it!

  • Corey Denis

    oops typo!!

    MikeAK, PumpkinPie, James

    sorry i almost forgot you james!!!! don’t worry, we’ll help ya out.

  • Pumpkin Pie

    Wow, merci beaucoup.

  • Andrew

    If you’ve ever sat in a cubicle next to someone who is gung ho about online dating sites, you know you’ve gotta block out that noise with some music. Now if you’ve ever sat in the cubicle next to someone who’s favorite dating website involves cougars, AND they love telling all their co-workers about it, welcome to my world. Rdio seems like an awesome way to block out hearing the same sordid stories I hear every day 😉

  • mikeak

    Thank You!!!!!!Can’t wait to get the email 🙂

  • SFAppealFanClubPresident

    As SFAppeal FanClub’s President, Treasurer, bodyguard, and due to a recent restraining order, former Chef, I have had ample time to review the rules and regulations of the fan club. Paragraph B-II of Section 4.17 of said rules and regulations state the following: President is entitled to invite of any future offerings of rdio. Granted I did call a meeting and added this about 20 minutes ago. It was approved and put into law by a unanimous vote. Thank you very for keeping up a great site and as President, Treasurer, bodyguard and ex-Chef, I thank you for representing my home town proud.

    Keep rocking it true!

    P.S. It would be sweet to win.


  • SFAppealFanClubPresident

    Boo! I was too late!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Corey Denis

    pulled 2 more out of my ass. these are the last 2 that we have…

    and they go to:

    SFAppealFanClubPresident (how could i not?!)


    of course Andrew – because regardless of what your co-workers do online, you have to sit in a cubicle, and that just sucks. i did that once.

  • SFAppealFanClubPresident

    Thank you so much Corey!