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Worth Another Look

If you've been thinking about trying streaming music, now's the time

Music streaming services have been on the rise as more users begin to switch to smartphones. Pandora and Spotify are the more popular services available, but one company is hoping to make a big impact.

Rdio is a streaming music service similar to Spotify, MOG, and Rhapsody. They're not new to the music streaming space, having been around since 2010, and are currently available in 31 markets around the world. Like other streaming services, Rdio allows its users to stream music albums, follow friends, and create custom stations. But, based on a report from the the New York Times, Rdio is looking to get a leg up on its competitors.

The Times is reporting that Rdio will soon announce a deal with Cumulus Media, a company that operates 525 radio stations in the US, including Nash FM and KFOG-FM. The Times is saying that the deal will result in Cumulus selling advertising on "a free version of the service."

Rdio currently offers free streaming to its users, but only on the desktop; in order to get streaming to your phone you have to a pay a monthly fee. Under this deal, there will be a free tier for mobile users. Naturally, there will be ads on this service.

Providing users free access to their content on mobile devices is nothing new. Spotify launched free streaming for its radio feature in June 2012, and Pandora launched a 40 hour limit in February, but later lifted the cap this past August.

What will set Rdio apart from these other services is that, in addition to having access to Rdio's built-in station feature, users will be able to access the full features of Rdio. This includes playlists, collections, and more. Additionally, the New York Times says "Cumulus will draw on its stations and syndicated shows to create playlists and other programs for Rdio users," but Cumulus will be "stripping out localized details like traffic and weather." This will result in users not only having their music collections on them at all times, but also the ability to access syndicated shows -- all from their smartphones.

If you have been thinking about checking out streaming music services, but were hesitant to pay the monthly fee, now may be the time. The free tier is expected to drop by the end of the year -- while you wait you should head over to Rdio and see what they're all about.