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Rdio launches cheaper ad-free music streaming option

Consumers looking for the sweet spot in a music streaming service between free access with ads and the premium ad-free model might want to take a look at Rdio’s new mid-tier level.

At $ 3.99 a month, Rdio Select gives you unlimited ad-free radio on your mobile device in higher-quality 320 Kbps sound. You also get offline access to 25 songs (which can be updated once a day) as well as personalized genre stations and access to new 10 song playlists, with many of them created by artists.

The service’s You FM, which is a personalized radio station based on your listening history, will also be available without ads.

Rdio Select is available for a 60-day free trial.

The new level is designed to entice casual users who might balk at Rdio Unlimited, the $ 9.99 all-access streaming service, but who want more than the free ad-supported level, which lets you listen to genre stations but limits picking specific songs to play.

The announcement comes at a time when the music streaming wars are heating up, especially with Apple rumoured to re-launch its Beats streaming service in June. The company has reportedly been pressuring labels to get services like Spotify to get rid of its free music tier, with American and European Union authorities watching the company for antitrust business practices. Recent reports say Beats might have additional social music features that might help set it apart.

Rdio’s cost-conscious move also comes shortly after Tidal relaunched with its premium, higher-quality offering that costs $ 19.99 a month.

Rdio has been praised for its app’s user interface, but the company has long trailed streaming market leader Spotify. In January 2013, AppData reported that Rdio had more than 100,000 users in the U.S. compared to 10 million worldwide for Spotify at the time.

Spotify now reportedly has 15 million paid users worldwide.