Also: Rdio, Startup Challenge, Converse, Slacker, Nickelback, Swift

Rdio is now working on a ‘vastly improved radio’ service, according to software engineer Ian McKellar.

One obvious target is Spotify, whose radio layer recently underwent some major surgery with fantastic results.     For now, everything remains in testing stage at Rdio, and no word on a launch date.

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Want to be  part of the SF Musictech Summit Start-Up Challenge on October 9th?  Great: go here.  Selected entrants get a slot to present on-stage, though ‘fabulous prizes’ don’t include a seed round.

Last year, Converse minted its Rubber Tracks studio in Brooklyn.  Now, with the help of Indaba Media, recorded tracks and artists are going online.  And, it’s Indaba, which means all sorts of remixing special campaigns and contests are being sprinkled on top.  More at

Slacker has just added a number of Pussy Riot tracks to its ‘Protest Radio’ channel, a nice headstart on the on-demand crowd.

Forever hold your peace… Avril Lavigne is now engaged fan favorite Chad Kroeger.  The pair became romantically involved while collaborating on an upcoming Lavigne album.  Elsewhere, the Wu-Tang Clan has just joined forces with D-Block to launch an upcoming, ‘Wu-Block’ LP.

And, Taylor Swift‘s ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ just pushed a healthy 623,000 digital downloads in its debut week, according to Nielsen Soundscan.  That comes close to Flo Rida’s record of 636,000 on ‘Right Round’.