Spotify vs. Rdio

As soon as Spotify entered the US marketing I jumped on it.  I’ve been loudly touting how awesome it is and how eagerly I shell out $10 a month to have access to it on my iPhone.  Then the Facebook bomb dropped.  Now you’re required to sign up with your Facebook credentials. This is very uncool.  I very much like the OPTION of integrating Spotify with Facebook, but the REQUIREMENT is unacceptable.  

Enter Rdio.
Rdio and Spotify are pretty similar.  Both are high quality streaming music services that keep your music in “the cloud” while also allowing you to “sync” your iTunes library or music folder with them.  This means out of the box you can listen to (almost) all the music you already own.  Spotify has a desktop app and a mobile app while Rdio offers desktop, mobile and web playback.  The difference here is that Spotify is playing music from your computer as well as the cloud while it seems that Rdio is only playing from the cloud.  This limits your Rdio library to what it can recognize and sync with.  In my case, the same holds true with Spotify because the majority of my music library is on an external hard drive so when that’s not plugged in I can only listen to what has been synced.

Let’s back track here.  Why do we want this service?  An untethered mobile music library.  Purchasing music is replaced with a monthly service fee (up to $10 a month).  Spontaneous music downloads.  Not relying on the music physically stored on your computer.  Using other black boxes, such as Roku or Squeezebox, for music playback.  Discovering and sharing new music.

So, let’s forget about any music that’s stored on your computer.  This is the least relevant to our uses really.  This means that while Spotify can essentially playback more music than Rdio, we still can really use iTunes for that and aren’t paying for these services for such.  Let’s say cloud playback and discovery are what we’re paying 10 smackers each month for.

Discovery and sharing.  
This is easy.  Rdio wins for discovery while Spotify wins for sharing.  Spotify really doesn’t have much in the way of music discovery from their own services with only minimal new releases or what’s hot.  Rdio has a fairly extensive collection of new releases, top charts, recommendations, etc.  You can see what your friends are playing on Rdio but Spotify does too while stepping it up to collaborating with your friends on playlists.  Think, 80s dance party at your house while all your guests start planning ahead of time by building a group playlist together.  Spotify really has the sharing music down.  I can click on a button and share on Spotify, Facebook, Twitter and Live Messenger as well.  It seems like a lot more people are using Spotify too so I have zero friends on Rdio but a couple dozen on Spotify.  

Just found out that the Rdio desktop app and web page does in fact let you share to Twitter and Facebook. It’s pretty cool.  So I’m updating this post with a screenshot of sharing with Rdio and Spotify from their desktop apps.



I like that Rdio has a web interface allowing me to listen to my music on any computer.  I think it’s cool that Rdio gives you band bios and provides a link to purchase the music you’re listening to.  Rdio has a much more pleasing interface on the desktop and web apps but I like Spotify’s iPhone app a little better then Rdio’s.  After reading Rdio’s blog and using their service for a couple days, I get the feeling that they’re way more about the music then Spotify.  Spotify is clearly more interested in selling its service then connecting with its users.

Spotify has a free plan for desktop playback that includes ads and a $5 plan that saves you from them.  Ten bucks bumps you up to mobile and device playback.  Device playback meaning any other black box like a Roku or Squeezebox, etc.  Rdio currently offers 7 days of free unlimited playback on any device and $10 a month after that.  There’s a rumor that they’re going to offer a free, limited plan soon.

It’s really close.  Oh, and Rdio has a rad iPad app. 


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