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Rdio lifts listening time limits on free Web music streaming

Subscription music service follows rival Spotify in lifting caps on how much music users can listen to.


Rdio is getting in tune with other online music services by offering free unlimited listening.

The online subscription music service said Thursday it had lifted its restrictions on Web listening, a day after rival music service Spotify announced a similar move. Like Spotify and Pandora before it, Rdio had offered its listeners a limited amount of online streaming, both those services have removed the caps.

While the ads aren't going away for free streaming, Rdio promises that they will be "short and sweet."

"Free listeners will hear a mix of new feature announcements, messages from partner brands, notifications about exclusive content, and other helpful tips," the company announced on its Web site.

Rdio users interested in the ad-free experience can still opt to pay the $10 month subscription fee.

Launched in the U.S. in 2010 as an alternative to other Internet music streaming services, Rdio offers access to a library of more than 20 million songs that can be listened to and shared across the Web, social networks, and mobile devices.

While Rdio is just a day behind Spotify in announcing its unlimited offering, the service actually announced that such a move was imminent in September as part of a partnership with radio station operator Cumulus. In exchange for "broad access" to the terrestrial radio giant's programming to help it compete better with Spotify and Pandora, Cumulus sells advertising for Rdio's free, ad-supported version.

The streaming segment is the music industry's area of greatest growth, but it's intensely competitive. To help it stay competitive with the likes of Pandora and Spotify, Rdio recently went through some belt-tightening that included some staff reductions. The company also appointed Anthony Bay -- a former exec at Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple -- as its chief executive officer.