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Music subscription service Rdio relaunched its web and desktop apps Tuesday at SXSW, taking some of the best parts of iTunes, Facebook and Spotify to focus squarely on music discovery. “We basically took Rdio apart and put it back together,” explained the company’s head of product Malthe Sigurdsson during the event. The new web UI resembles a desktop app like iTunes or Spotify, complete with a playlist bar on the left, a catalog view in the center pane and a social news feed on the right. It also puts a big emphasis on social interaction, making it possible for users to put together collaborative playlists with friends. Users can also compile private playlists that they don’t want to share. Rdio’s desktop apps mimick the web UI, which is available to subscribers starting today .
When's the last time you got something just because you asked for it? That's the premise behind Wish Upon a Hero, an online platform that allows anyone to post — or grant — a wish. It's an interesting experiment in crowdsourced social good.
(Corrects spelling of Russ Crupnick) Compared with buying e-books, building a digital music collection is a hassle. E-books zip directly to reading devices like the Kindle and Nook and are backed up "in the cloud"—on the servers of Amazon.com ( AMZN ) and Barnes & Noble ( BKS ). A digital song, on the other hand, is typically downloaded to a PC and must then be manually transferred to an iPod or mobile phone. If you lose your Kindle, you can always download an e-book again; if the PC crashes or the iPod falls into the bathtub, the song goes down with it.