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rdioWho needs Spotify? Rdio intends to one-up its competitors today with the introduction of a free on-demand streaming music service that has no ads.

There is a limit to Rdio’s free music, though, and a meter at the top of the site will keep track of how much of it you have left for the month.

An Rdio representative explains the free music limit like this: “The amount of free a person will get is dynamic and will be based on their own personal use and displayed in a meter in the corner of their profile. A heavy user will get more, but probably not as much as they will want and a light user will get more than they’d ever want.”

The free service requires just an email address or Facebook account to sign up — there’s no credit card required. That’s a wise decision, since it completely removes the barriers users previously had to checking out the service.

Rdio has a catalog of over 12 million songs. Free users can upgrade to the $4.99 Web subscription plan, which lets you stream an unlimited amount of music from your web browser. There’s also a $9.99 Unlimited plan that gives you streaming access to music, as well as access to Rdio’s mobile apps, which allow you to download music for offline listening. For families, Rdio introduced an Unlimited Family plan for $17.99 a month (for two accounts) and $22.99 (for three accounts).

Rdio hinted at its plans for a free streaming service back in September, after competitor Mog also announced a free version of its service. Both are trying to compete with recently launched Spotify, which gained popularity for its free ad-supported streaming music service. Spotify relies on a desktop client, while both Mog and Rdio are web-based.

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