Rdio pips Spotify to US launch

Rdio has beaten Spotify to the US market, launching its music streaming service across the US and Canada.

Unlike Spotify, Rdio has no advertising component. It costs $4.95 per month for a desktop-only service, $9.99 a month for an unlimited service with mobile access via iPhone, Android and BlackBerry apps.

The company, created by Skype founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström, has seven million songs available, and today announced a new partnership with indie distributor IODA. It already has deals with the big four, EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner.

Rather than making music recommendations on the basis of a user’s previous history, Rdio allows people to check out their friends’ preferences to compile playlists.

Users can also get the experts to pick for them, with playlists from titles such as Spin Magazine, Pitchfork, KCRW Radio, The Fader and XLR8R Magazine.

“Dive in and you’ll end up spending all day discovering new (and re-discovering old) favorites. It’s people-powered music,” says the company.

For the moment, Rdio will be competing primarily with Rhapsody and Napster. 

Spotify has apparently been on the point of launching for over a year – the beginning of 2010 was at one point mooted as a launch date. But negotiations with record labels have taken longer than anticipated.

It’s available here.