Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Ads by Google

I recently cancelled my Spotify Premium membership after a year of uninterrupted monthly payments to the company. This decision came about when I accidentally signed up for 14-days of free Rdio Unlimited. Quite frankly, I was left confused as to who I should be paying money to and after playing with both services there’s a good chance you would be too.

If you’re choosing to take the Netflix-style “all you can eat” route with your music but want the most bang for your buck, you’ve got quite a selection of services to choose from. Rdio and Spotify are two fairly evenly matched products, and for my money no one else comes close – but who reigns supreme?

Hopefully we’ll be finding that out by the end of this rather in-depth article, but as ever I have a feeling it’s going to come down to your personal circumstances.

Availability & Sign Up

The number one thing that is going to determine which service many people opt for is geographical availability. At one point this was very limiting, with most services either operating inside the US or specifically outside of it in the case of Spotify until a few years ago. Thankfully, things have improved dramatically and both Rdio and Spotify are available in a long list of countries.

Spotify is available in: USA, UK, Australia, Andorra, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden and Austria.

Ads by Google

Rdio is available in: USA, UK, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Signing up for both services is an exercise in dodging social media connect buttons – both Rdio and Spotify really want your Facebook details. Regardless, it’s possible to sign up for either service without any social accounts if you hunt for the nearby email registration link.

Listening: Desktops & Browsers

Listening to either service is possible via desktop clients for Windows and Mac, though Linux support is decidedly thin on the ground. Spotify did have a Linux version of their player (available to subscribers of Unlimited or above) but I can no longer find mention of it on the homepage. From now on, Linux users will need to be subscribed and use something like despotify instead.

Spotify’s desktop player behaves with the response you’d expect from software like iTunes or Foobar2000. The player received a facelift not so long ago and now uses a paler colour scheme and features artists you can “follow” much like Twitter. Unfortunately, this is the extent of Spotify’s rather dismal achievements with regards their desktop player over the last few years.

It’s also quite possibly the most prevalent piece of software that’s still under active development that hasn’t had a Retina update for Apple’s newest line of laptops Why Do Some Apps Look Bad On My Retina Display? (And How to Fix It) Why Do Some Apps Look Bad On My Retina Display? (And How to Fix It) When Apple released the MacBook Pro with Retina display this time last year, they raised the bar for laptop display technology, as they previously did for the smartphone and tablet industries. The only issue they... Read More . In short, the desktop player works but it feels very old-hat and has barely changed in the 7 or so years Spotify has existed. In fact, Spotify removed the ability to filter results on a page (previously accessible via Ctrl/Cmd+F) which means that the player actually lost a feature. Spotify has the edge when it comes to Facebook integration, but I won’t be judging streaming music services on the strength of their Facebook integration, rather their music-related abilities.

Rdio’s desktop player is little more than a wrapper for its web player, though this isn’t really obvious before you download it. For this reason I’d recommending using the web player in your browser instead. On my Mac, the Rdio “app” simply looks like a tab that hasn’t been docked to Chrome. It’s not fast and responsive like Spotify is when dragging tracks around, but it’s nicer to use thanks to the superior interface and lighter colour scheme.

The Rdio web player is a breath of fresh air, on the other hand, and provides support even if you’re using an obscure Linux distribution or similar. It’s not quite as responsive as a desktop app, but it’s great to use and works from most modern web browsers (and does not require any plugins to do so). The UI is a mixture of light solid colours, the translucent “now playing” panel and clean, straight lines. The now playing area takes the form of a separate panel that slides up from the bottom of the screen, and this clever design results in a light and uncluttered interface.

Spotify also has a web player, but it’s currently in open beta (for those with a Facebook account linked to their Spotify account) though you can access it here from your paired, logged-in account. The Spotify web player is similar to the iPad app in its style, though it has one core problem for me – a reliance on Flash. Considering this is a new, and long-awaited (read: very overdue) feature; building it on outdated web technologies strikes me as a poor decision.

Listening: Mobile & Offline

Both services use a similar subscription model for mobile listening in that you must be a subscriber to the mobile plan in order to use one of the many mobile apps. For Spotify and Rdio, this is a selling point as these apps allow you to stream, manage and even sync offline music. Only one service lets you sync as much as you like though, and that’s Rdio. Spotify users can only have up to 3,333 songs stored offline on up to three computers or devices at a time. Rdio users can sync as many songs as their devices can handle, to as many devices as they own.

Spotify’s iPhone app is serviceable Spotify: The Best Way To Listen To Music On Your iPhone Spotify: The Best Way To Listen To Music On Your iPhone With Spotify making it onto the MakeUseOf Best iPhone Apps list, we're taking a closer look at what you can get out of using Spotify on your iPhone. You can select between the free or... Read More but has a few design quirks that stand out for me. The UI could do with work, an example being the poor location of the Available Offline button which is very easy to tap by mistake, resulting in the loss of hours of offline music (it happened to me). And that’s a button you need, because you can only sync playlists rather than individual albums or tracks, as is the nature of Spotify. Otherwise it’s a fairly standard affair, if a little utilitarian in nature.

Rdio takes a different approach where each item (song, album, playlist) can be marked for mobile syncing, accessible via a long press. Both services offer high quality syncing and streaming.

For my money the Rdio app is a little nicer to use, the UI looks sharp and loosely matches Apple’s direction for iOS 7 What's New in iOS 7? What's New in iOS 7? A new generation of iOS is nearly upon us, revealed at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference last week. Guided strongly by (Sir) Jony Ive, iOS 7 marks a clear departure from the skeumorphic UI elements of... Read More despite being a mature and original design. Spotify’s app is less graceful and looks its age by this point, and in my experience occasionally takes a very long time to start streaming some of the service’s rarer material.

iPad owners are lucky, because they get two tailor-made apps from each service. Both Spotify and Rdio’s mobile apps for iOS are universal, which means they’re optimized for the larger tablet display. Spotify’s iPad app (above) has gone on to form the basis of the service’s web app, and it’s certainly a fuller experience than the same app on a smaller iPhone screen. Rdio (below) went the whole hog and seemingly managed to fit a scaled down version of their whole website into their iPad app, and it also looks great.

Rdio has the edge with its mobile apps because of its robust remote control feature. This works both ways, so you can plug your phone into your hi-fi and control it using your web browser and vice-versa. This is the killer feature for me, as I use my iPhone to stream via an amp positioned across the room for me while working. With Rdio I can control everything my phone plays from a web browser without ever getting up. Spotify could have added this feature literally years ago, but they didn’t (and I had to get up a lot during that time).

Music: Catalogue & Management

This is arguably one of the most important points for a lot of people – does X have Y and Z? Well, in my experience there’s very little that Spotify has that Rdio doesn’t have, but Rdio definitely has the smallest of the two catalogues (if you count 20 million plus songs as “small”). I can’t really be any more precise than that, but I will say just that just about everything I have tried to find on Rdio that I had collected on Spotify could be found (though occasionally on different albums, compilations and so on). This is why this point is so far down in my comparison: in my locale (Australia), for my tastes, they’re pretty much level-pegging. And that’s a very good thing, but it might not be the case for everyone.

You may find your personal tastes under-represented on one service, and adequately propped up on another: both services offer a free listening tier, as well as trials of their unlimited mobile services so you can find out before you buy.

Managing your music on either service is different again. I grew up listening to albums, not playlists. Even though I spent my schooldays arguing about iPods and swapping MP3s, albums are how I’ve always listened to music. For this reason, I really missed having a “collection” of music with Spotify, and instead had to make-do with shoe-horning everything into playlists. This results in a never-ending mess of playlists trailing down the side of the screen, most of which I will never actually play but only created to save an album. Rdio solved this for me by letting me add music to a collection that is separate to my playlists.

Spotify has a collection too, but it only lists songs you have already added to playlists. You could create a library playlist into which you drop all the albums you want, but it’s not quite the same as a hidden collection you can easily browse and forget about.

The Price

Both services have three tiers: top-level premium including mobile access, unlimited desktop and web access and a free service with limitations. Rdio’s free version offers a limited number of streams per track per month, and when you’ve run out you’ll have to wait or subscribe. This free service only operates for six months before it’s crunch-time and you’ll have to leave or pay. Spotify extended its unlimited free listening terms last year but users have to contend with audio adverts in between songs, full-screen adverts in-player and banner ads while browsing music. By comparison, Rdio is completely advert free even to non-paying users.

The tiers differ very little in terms of features aside from what I’ve already pointed out, and the price of each is identical: $4.99 for desktop and $9.99 for mobile too. It’s worth pointing out that Rdio also operate a $17.99 a month plan for two family subscriptions, with a third costing $22.99 a month. They recently increased this number to include a maximum of five family members under the one discounted monthly price, though it’s not currently available in all territories.

Of course, these are US prices and actual costs will be higher in other territories

Travelling Abroad

I anticipate this will be a feature that many demand – the ability to travel outside of your billing country, into non-supported Spotify or Rdio territories while being able to enjoy the service. I am pleased to announce that both services offer this feature to paying customers. Spotify’s policy is:

If you’re going on holiday, or visiting friends, take Spotify with you. You can log into your Spotify account on any computer – just download the Spotify player and start listening.

If you have a Premium or Unlimited account, you can listen abroad for as long as you like. Spotify Free users can listen for 14 days.

If you have a Spotify Premium account, you get full access to Spotify on your mobile, wherever you are. So you can stream music and sync your playlists to listen offline.

While the Rdio FAQ says:

Paying subscribers from one of the countries listed above can use Rdio on both the Web and Mobile phones while traveling abroad. Rdio’s Mobile apps need to connect with Rdio’s servers at least once every 30 days.

Spotify: A Few Words

You might think I’m being a little harsh on Spotify in my criticism, but as a casual user of the service when it first launched in the UK, and a paid subscriber on the first day the service launched in my current country of residence (Australia) I can honestly say progress on the software, new features and improving the music library (at least in the latter locale) is moving at what can only be described as a glacial pace. When you’ve watched so little happen for so long, while other products (like Rdio) have come from nowhere, with no subscribers and then manage to outpace innovation, release a beatiful web player, a range of smartphone apps and an all-singing iPad version you have to question whether you’re giving your money to the right people.

Spotify is defitely seen as one of the big names in music streaming thanks in part to the fact that it introduced many to the notion of subscription-based music consumption. This means there are a lot of Spotify users sharing tracks, using integrated services like Twitter #music Discover New Music With Twitter #music for Desktop & iPhone [Web & iOS] Discover New Music With Twitter #music for Desktop & iPhone [Web & iOS] Twitter's new music discovery service for finding bands and artists has been out for nearly two weeks now and that has given us plenty of time to put the aptly named #music through its paces.... Read More , creating playlists and sharing them and generally making the service feel busy. This means there’s a lot of discovery to be had through playlists and other users, something that you might find lacking on Rdio.

I can’t help but feel Spotify got in early but have since done little to innovate in the field and keep their product moving forward. The desktop app is woefully in need of a complete redesign. It’s always asking to be restarted to apply an update, but I’m never quite sure what exactly has changed afterwards.

Rdio: A Few Words

Rdio strikes a different chord, and I’ll be honest and say this might be because I’m a little jaded about a lack of progress in the Spotify camp.  The two things that have me leaning more towards Rdio at present are two things Spotify could have easily implemented years ago: a proper music collection and two-way remote control using the mobile apps.

The only thing is you will miss a few things when you jump ship from Spotify to Rdio – particularly if you use the social aspect, as previously mentioned. You can connect your accounts to Rdio but I was surprised to find literally none of my social contacts to be using the service. If you’re used to sending music to friends or getting recommendations from family, you’ll miss it on Rdio.

Similarly you might miss any Spotify apps you’ve gotten used to, though in my experience they’re all a bit pointless anyway. Rdio has a radio feature that will match Spotify’s, and both services can be used by paying premium subscribers from abroad even if that country can’t supported by Rdio yet. These areas place the two on equal footing, so it’s down to personal preference, music catalogue and past experience to determine the victor.

And The Winner Is…

In order to answer this question you have to ask what is it that you are happy paying for. Do you want a slick web-based mobile-friendly streaming service that embraces a proper music collection, “album listening” and a slicker, remote-controllable UI or a playlist-oriented desktop app that’s clunky to use but deeply integrated with Facebook and has millions of active users?

Do you care about Spotify’s new public profile pages which will allow others to peruse your musical tastes as if it were your Twitter profile or would you rather keep your listening habits to yourself? Perhaps a better way of phrasing that might be: is the music you listen to more important than the image you portray while listening to it? Then again can you tolerate the rather solitary listening experience that Rdio provides? With no Facebook-like ticker telling you what your friends are doing, those big blank white spaces can feel rather rather lonely at times.

Personally, my Spotify subscription will remain “Free” for now, but I won’t uninstall the client. Rdio will be getting this month’s $12, but I’m not going to make the mistake of signing up for a year’s service. This is a competitive market space right now, and as other products like Xbox Music and Sony’s Music Unlimited edge their way onto the market you’ll want to keep your options open.

So I’ve chosen Rdio – let us know which streaming service you prefer, as well as your reasons for doing so in the comments, below.

  1. A Spotify User
    March 23, 2016 at 8:55 am

    I think it's time to update this article. Linux support is there, and the Spotify database is pretty huge all over the world. Also there should be more countries supported by now. For Spotify there are only two tiers, a payed one, and a free one as far as I know.

  2. Jon
    May 8, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    Another major advantage for Rdio.... Chromecast support. If you use a Chromecast for your media, Spotify isn't an option

  3. Itanaman
    May 8, 2015 at 12:08 am

    I'm curious. I currently have Spotify, but have been frustrated with the clunkiness of the user interface myself. The Android app is another frustration as well. In order to get it to save music to your external SD Card, you have to go about some weird ways to do it, such as uninstall, make sure the SD Card has substantially more space available than internal storage, and then re-install, and it does not always work. See this support blog for more info on that: https://community.spotify.com/t5/Help-Android/spotify-doesn-t-save-to-sd-card/td-p/873535 and the location showing that the problems dates back to 2012 when they took the option out of their app: https://community.spotify.com/t5/Help-Android/New-Android-app-preview-save-to-external-SD-card/m-p/46803/highlight/true#M2281

    Do you know whether Rdio Android app gives you the choice of where you save your music on the phone, since the user interface does seem to be much nicer?

  4. sasha
    April 6, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    I am a classic music fan and i wounder if classic music labels such as deutsche grammophon exists in Rdio?

  5. John
    March 25, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    Thanks for this excellent, deep article. I am currently a Spotify user, having discovered Spotify after MOG went under (to Beats in which I am not at all interested). You, the author, are advanced in your use of electronic technology. I am not unhappy with any of the Spotify shortcomings you identify. What does surprise me is that irrespective of the size of the catalogue, Spotify often does NOT have a selection I seek. This is especially true in "chill" music, a selection of which I will Shazam and then discover Spotify does not have it (rdio sometimes does).

    Thanks again, good article.

  6. Jose
    February 23, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Tim, Thanks for he article. can I transfer my Spotify playlists to Rdio?

  7. Brett
    January 30, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    It would be interesting to see where you stand now, over a year later, and with improvements on Spotify's side.

  8. Juan Mares
    January 13, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    same here. love it on my roku3, there is a designated button on controller for it and with the headphones on controller I dont have to be carrying my phone. thanks for the article.

  9. Nathan Broadbent
    January 8, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Rdio is the only one offering Chromecast support. Just dropped Spotify and switched to Rdio for this, they still have all the music I listen to.

  10. Alex
    December 9, 2013 at 3:19 am

    Only Rdio is available in Canada so I've chosen Rdio, love it

  11. EnricM
    December 5, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    I got a premium subscription to spotify when I signed for cable TV here in Holland. The ads and the stupid recommendations however annoy the heck out of me. With "adds" I mean the stuoid idiotic and brainless recommendations they do: I'm a Metalhead(TM), all my stuff is Metal but they still insist in recommending me hip-hop or R&B stuff... As I am also an IT guy this gave me a stink poor impression about the guys behind Spotify.
    When I try to run a "station" based on a track or band it jumps to completely unrelated stuff and can happily mix the latest Madonna into a brutal death metal station.

    This doesn't happen in RDio: The recommendations are easy to skip and I don't have to suffer seeing the stupid face of Justin Beiber when starting the service.

    And the stations work like a charm, and there is this awesome option where you can select how much variety you want on a station, from "band only" to "adventurous" pretty neat.

    The catalogue is broad enough for me, I can find many of the bands I like (and I listen to very rare stuff) and as I have a huge personal collection myself I find no difference.

    With all this in mind I just stopped using spotify and subscribed to Rdio.

  12. WOLF L?MBERT
    December 1, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Enjoyed reading your article!
    I'm a bit in a doubt about this. I'm a Spotify Premium subscriber; much artist that I like aren't on Rdio and I also know no one who uses it, while I know tens of people on Spotify. That said, Spotify's desktop app indeed seems like it's never updated, and Rdio looks soooo awesome!
    I have no problem with playlists; I save every album I like as one, and 3333 tracks is enough for me; so I'd rather choose Spotify, although it needs a HUGE redesign. Give me Spotify with Rdio's look and I am happy with it.

  13. RobC.
    November 16, 2013 at 4:44 am

    Spotify on Android now lets you sort your playlist alphabetically, which is nice. However, as you stated about many of their features, this took an unnecessarily long time for them to roll out. The fact that it's still not available on their iPhone app, and I know it's not available on the desktop app, is pretty archaic. Spotify is a great app, but they just don't have the convenient features that Rdio has. The collection function on Rdio alone is worth the switch. I feel like the folks at Spotify built the app, left it to run, and never came back.

    • WOLF L?MBERT
      December 1, 2013 at 10:05 pm

      Well the desktop app has it, but it only shows them alphabetically, it doesn't really sort them. I hate it that it's still not on the iOS app — is it so hard to implement? — but after all, that's just a small problem (although small things sometimes make the difference).

  14. Gloria
    November 14, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Is Rido available in Canada?

    • Miguel
      February 4, 2015 at 9:08 am

      Yes it is.

  15. Shayne
    November 11, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    Excellent article Tim. You've focussed on aspects that I actually CARE about such as usability and enjoyment, rather than which ones have the most facebook about them. I hate being asked to link my various activities online to facebook!

  16. Brandon
    October 27, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    My biggest contention with this is a complete dismissing of apps. You may have found them useless, but they are wayyy better for discovery and finding top artists (in my opinion) than Spotify's own Discovery engine. Apps like Emerge, Billboard Top Charts, Hype Machine, Last.fm, among others do a lot to finding new tunes.

    That said, I don't think Rdio is necessarily inferior, but because of all my playlists (that I actually listen to, quite regularly) and the apps, I'm somewhat invested in Spotify. Not to mention most of my friends also use it, so sharing music with them is very easy. The family account special does appeal, as I currently pay for two Spotify subscriptions for my wife and I, but the $2 difference is marginal.

  17. Stuart Campbell
    October 22, 2013 at 6:18 am

    Excellent article which I whole heartedly agree with. Spotify needs a kick up the arse to bring me back. Why not allow syncing of albums?! Rdio it is then, for now.

  18. Mick ter Reehorst
    October 19, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Ehm, this tool... http://resp.in/

    • Shreela
      December 11, 2013 at 7:51 am

      I started "streaming" music some odd years ago with Last.fm and wasn't that impressed at the time (limited samples). Now services like Spotify are streaming the way I want, I'm learning my way around, and searched for comparisons.

      I appreciate how Tim explained how he rated the winner, especially since I'm the opposite when it comes to albums. I always disliked paying lots of money when I usually liked 1-2 songs, often not offered as singles (back in the day). So of course I love playlists.

      I despise Spotify's desktop app's floating ads - keep them in the same place instead of trying to trick me into an accidental click! As far as their browser player, I had to install flash, even though I just updated it last week(?) But so far, I haven't noticed floating apps on their web player, and I really like their apps for finding old music I forgot I enjoyed. And Rebok has a workout app with mostly running with 140 BPM being the most popular, but lets users submit their own playlists, so I'm going to submit some 115 BMP walking playlists eventually.

      I'm going to use Mick's link to copy my stuff to Rdio so I can use both services' free accts to see which I prefer, as well as see how they stand up to the test of time with buggy upgrades, or radically changing GUIs like FB and YouTube (ugh!) before purchasing a premium account. Perhaps if the resp.in site lasts, I'll use Spotify's apps to make playlists, then import them to Rdio.

  19. Mick ter Reehorst
    October 19, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    This is a great tool for importing Spotify (or Last.fm, iTunes, some others) playlists into Rdio. Your article was really helpful, although I feel really guilty giving up on Spotify after so many years of support. But their software is just quite messy sometimes.

  20. Neil
    October 17, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Is it possible to migrate your Spotify playists to Rdio?

  21. az
    October 17, 2013 at 12:14 am

    After 6 months of free listening Spotify puts restriction on use: you cannot listen more than 2.5 hours per week / 10 hours per month..

  22. Dave
    October 7, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Good read... thanks.
    I wonder which one is the most developer friendly, I've been playing with Raspberry Pi boards, MPD and a Schitt DAC to do a sort of DIY Sonos device.
    Next stage is to get Spotify or Rdio working...

    • Nick
      May 11, 2015 at 5:03 am

      Did you manage to get either Spotify or Rdio working. Thinking of picking up the new Rasperry Pi 2 and building it up, but it would have to allow for Rdio to stream music.

    • Dave
      May 11, 2015 at 5:25 am

      Spotify is a cinch to get going, Google Music wasnt bad either.
      Havent looked at Rdio for a while as it wasnt supported at all when I started out.
      Have used both Rune & Pi MusicBox for Spotify on a Raspy.

  23. Ted L
    October 3, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    thanks for the analysis! I've been on Spotify and generally like it, but one thing it fails at is recommendations. Remember LaLa? They had a great recommendation engine, in that they would should you playlists that songs you like were in, which let you see what other people with similar tastes ( or not) associated with it. It was a great way to find new stuff.

    How do you think "music discovery" stacks up between the two?

    • Tim B
      October 4, 2013 at 12:45 am

      I do not remember LaLa, no. Maybe it never launched in the UK/Australia?

      I've heard great things about Spotify's discovery engine, and had fairly positive results myself. I do however now see Rdio's own personalised radio as being a great way to discover music. You can choose how adventurous you want the suggestions to be, and I've found a lot of music this way.

      That particular feature didn't exist when I wrote this comparison, but then they've also just announced free mobile streaming (which also didn't exist). I chose Rdio in the end, and I'm still using it, and now it seems to be getting even better, so I'd still recommend it.

      (Unless all your friends use Spotify and the whole social/sharing aspect is really important to you.)

  24. Daniel
    September 23, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Thanks for this article! I was really wondering which to choose.

    Ultimately you answered my question at the bottom when you said that none of your friends are using Rdio, so the social aspect doesn't exist like it does with Spotify. Maybe it's just my generation, but part of the fun of music is trying to get others to appreciate the music that you love, so Rdio probably wouldn't be as good for me. Also, this is probably just personal preference, but I love the way Spotify looks, and I appreciate that it doesn't get a makeover every two months like iTunes seems to do.

    Overall, I benefited a lot from your analysis, even though I'll ultimately stick with Spotify :).

  25. Chablis
    September 19, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Definitely Rdio! The better service indeed

  26. Nevin Cohen
    September 14, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    And Rdio doesn't have albums by Beirut, one of my favorites, yet Spotify does...

  27. dwfresh
    September 5, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Spotify doesn't have 'In Rainbows' by radiohead, which is one of my all time favorite albums. so for me, Rdio is a no-brainer.

  28. Kevin
    August 6, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    You may have mentioned this and I just missed it, but one feature Spotify has over Rdio is the capability to sync local music that's not currently available on the service. I use this for a few tracks that I enjoy that are not available on Spotify. I don't think Rdio does this.

    • Kevin
      August 6, 2013 at 6:09 pm

      I didn't clarify that very well. I'm referring to adding a track to Spotify (desktop) and it being available on the mobile app.

    • Tim Brookes
      August 7, 2013 at 12:31 am

      Thanks for reminding me about that one Kevin. I remember that feature, though I've personally never used it. I think this was quite a big deal back when the feature was first announced, but since Apple made iTunes Wi-Fi sync the norm it's not quite such a big deal.

      Still, it might be handy to some!

      • Alfie
        August 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm

        For those of you querying the catalogue issue can I point out the Tomahawk player - it pulls in music from Spotify but also from Soundcloud and Youtube etc so no matter WHAT you're looking for you can pull it into the player
        I love spotify but i pretty much only listen to my paid subscription through Tomahawk on my mac. It's free, open source AND AMAZING!!!!
        Alfie

  29. Lachlan Stewart (@Lachlan_Gooner)
    July 29, 2013 at 2:13 am

    Thanks for the review.

    I tried Spotify a few months back because I love my music, and I felt like streaming was the way of the future.

    I absolutely hated it. It felt like I was constantly battling with the app to work the way I wanted. Sure if all you want to do is listen to what everyone else is, or the Triple J hitlist, then it seems like a good option. However, for someone like myself, it was just too hard to work with.

    I concluded given my bad experience and the fact that after pouring lots of money into one of these services, at the end of my subscription I have nothing to show for it (CDs, listening history, collection etc.), I decided I would stay away.

    I like you, accidentally signed up to the Rdio trial. I thought I'd give it a go while it was completely free.

    Couldn't be happier. It is perfect for someone like me who listens to albums most of the time. I also love the remote feature, that is one of the best features I've ever come across in a product like this, and wouldn't have missed it until I've used it.

    I really love it, and 2 days into my trial I knew I'd be signing up for the full version.

    Only sad thing is that not a single one of my friends use it. The social aspect is almost non existent. Its funny how so few people use Rdio and so many Spotify, when I think Rdio is clearly the better product.

    Oh, and I can't forget that Rdio has Pink Floyd!

  30. evan paglinawan
    July 28, 2013 at 9:10 am

    great review re: rdio and spotify, it seems one sell one menu none to the other but one thing really strike me is that in spotify I keep on reaching towards the hi-fi to skip a music rather than if only I can remotely control on my laptop...im on the edge of moving to Rdio and as I used the free subs it seems kinda lonely place to listen to music as ur unable to share over facebook etc. Anyway, it was nice reading ur review. At present, what do u use now...rdio or spotify?

    thanks men, have a great day
    evan

  31. Alex
    July 25, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Thanks for this, Tim. I've never actually used Spotify but can say that I am very pleased with Rdio. My only complaint about Rdio is its client on the Roku universal wireless device (which I use to watch Netflix and other things on my TV). The client is TERRIBLE there, just stone-age. But I am very pleased with Rdio's desktop and mobile apps -- I use browser, iPad, and Android. I love the clean and intuitive interfaces for all three.

    • Tim Brookes
      July 26, 2013 at 1:04 am

      Glad it helped you out Alex, I too am finding that I get on better with Rdio's browser and mobile apps than the Spotify equivalents. I also find it much better to work primarily out of a collection of music than by playlist managing.

      Sorry to hear that the Roku support is poor - you could always consider using some sort of wireless audio stream to the Roku maybe? I know an Apple TV would work for iOS/Mac devices too.

  32. gggirlgeek
    July 19, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    The remote control thing doesn't make sense to me. If you're sitting at a computer, which has Rdio access, nice speakers, and a powerful soundcard, why would you use that computer to control Rdio on a weak little device connected to THE SAME speakers???? If the speaker/amp is not connected to the computer... THAT'S your problem. Put some time into connecting that amp to a 5.1 system on that computer and you will be a blissful dude, I promise you. :-)

    I bet your computer's internet connection is faster too, not to mention the lower quality of the downloaded files over mobile.

    Thanks for the write-up.

    • Tim Brookes
      July 19, 2013 at 11:17 pm

      I use my PC and my iPhone to listen to Rdio, interchangeably. While working, I'll plug my iPhone into my (decent) amp, connected to nice speakers, across the room. I can then use the desktop interface to pick songs, and control what comes out of my phone.

      Similarly when I'm finished working, I'll plug my MacBook into the amp and use my phone from the comfort of the sofa to control the music. I don't have a 5.1 setup but a simple stereo amp, a second hand 35wpc 1970s silver TEAC model connected to some Kenwood bookshelf speakers which I solely use for music. I find 5.1 surround is a little over the top when all you want is stereo sound.

      I should also point out that I have noticed no difference between the sound quality coming out of Rdio mobile or Rdio desktop. I've set both to use high quality streaming on Wi-Fi, so I assume they use the same sources. You can specify lower quality syncs and streams if needed, though.

      • gggirlgeek
        July 21, 2013 at 11:34 am

        Good to know that iphone produces the same sound as laptop. My Android produces "almost" the same sound. Good enough essentially.

        I just tried Spotify for the first time after reading this article (my hesitation was facebook of course.) I wasn't exactly satisfied. I have an extensive music collection. So I'm used to being able to search for "folk rock" or "queen" and play it all instantly. I can also just put my whole collection on shuffle and I'm happy. Not with spotify. In addition the sound on my computer wasn't quite the same.

        It seems easier to simply copy over my music to my SD card and play it on my phone. I was hoping for easier access to music while I'm out but spotify is a bit of a pain compared to my own collection.

        The only thing spotify/Rdio offers me is access to new music. That is the reason I may still come back -- and try Rdio.

  33. willy
    July 12, 2013 at 12:53 am

    RDIO all the way awesome development. spotify feels too old. and i hate having to install software on my pc to play something.

  34. Colby D
    July 9, 2013 at 6:07 am

    I have been researching for around a year now (on and off) for the BEST cloud media player. From what I can tell, Rdio has the most appealing features:

    - slick and well organized
    - simple, but still complex enough to give plenty of options
    - wide music shopping market
    - dropbox-like synchronization across multiple devices
    - matching an existing PC music collection
    - song play count to keep a true shuffle
    - offline listening for phone, tablet, and/or computer.

    There are still features of Rdio I feel are missing:
    - I am still yet to find with any media player a song-in-playlist(s) indicator. I need to know which songs are in which playlists, because I am constantly updating my playlists with new music and I don't want to add duplicate songs in the same playlist(s). Vdio (the movie branch from Rdio) actually does this with their movie sets. And you can even remove a movie from a set from the "Add to Set" tool if it was added to that set on accident. Having this feature with songs and playlists would be extremely useful!
    - the ability to play more than one playlist together in shuffle.
    - saving stations... seems kind of obvious to have this, but it doesn't.
    - with matching a PC's collection, Rdio can't keep the link to my PC collection with my online collection--when new songs are added to my computer database (or any other device linked to my Rdio account) it would be nice to automatically add to my Rdio account, for example--but hopefully soon they will add this.
    - even though they have the dropbox-like synchronization, they're not quite all the way there with this feature. It would be nice if when a song/artist/album/PLAYLIST is added to the collection from ANY device, ALL collections EVERYWHERE would automatically update.

    If anyone knows of a cloud media player that can do ALL of these things, let me know! For now, I've decided to look further in to subscribing to Rdio.

    After I get my music organization all situated (years in progress, and probably never to be fully complete, lol), the next step is to figure this out with my video collection...

  35. N P
    July 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Spotify does have "collection" in the works- the ability to add to your collection instead of using playlists, as well as an updated collection view that looks similar to the follow view. It's supposed to be released sometime this year. The link below has a screenshot.

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/12/6/3736018/spotify-debuts-new-discovery-engine-collection-and-follow-which-lets

    • Tim Brookes
      July 9, 2013 at 12:03 am

      Well that will level the playing field a bit, but it speaks volumes about the company and how slow progress is over there really. They run a music streaming service that hasn't had a way to catalogue a collection EVER outside of the random mess of playlists.

      • N P
        July 9, 2013 at 1:22 am

        It really does... they may squander their market lead due to the slowness in their dev cycle in a fast moving/evolving market. That may be why they plan to hire 130 new engineers before the end of 2013, but that's dangerous in and of itself for a company the size of spotify. It will be interesting to see who's on top a year from now...

    • afly
      December 6, 2013 at 10:12 am

      6 month later update.....

      ...nothing at all.

      I can't stand playlist driven organisation. rdio need to get their coverage up though, metallica, red hot chilli's, a lot of big name content missing atm

  36. Moctu
    July 5, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    I know I'm a little late to the debate but I switched to Rdio for family reasons!

    Spotify suddenly cut the number of devices you could sync to. Their service used to suit my family (2 adults, 2 kids) because you could sync to up to 6 devices. What was really cool was that you could sync different tracks to different devices.

    Then suddenly, every time I went to play a track on my device, I had to re-download my collection. Spotify had cut the number of supported devices to 3 so each time a fourth family member went to use it, a collection was deleted from someone else's device.

    Rdio don't do this BUT you have to sync the same collection to all devices. Still, much better than one family member being left out.

    Now, I know this bends the rules a bit and both services offer personal licenses not family ones but sorry, I can't afford to pay £10 each per month! So at the moment, Rdio gets my business.

    • Tim Brookes
      July 5, 2013 at 11:52 pm

      Did you hear about the Rdio group family subscription policy thing?

      I'm not sure it's available for the UK store yet but they offer a discount on up to 5 subscribers (something like $30 instead of $50 a month at its most expensive) as a group discount for families.

      Last I checked it was US-only (or specifically not in my territory, anyway) but it might be worth looking into!

  37. Bestia
    July 5, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Rdio also needs Flash for it's web version (atleast on Linux).

    I've tried it in Ubuntu 13.04 and from the big three only Chrome works without Flash plugin. I disabled it in chrome://plugins (both versions NPAPI and PPAPI) to be 100% sure.

    Firefox and Opera display a pop-up about Flash player requirement. I have set those browsers to load plugins only after clicking.

    Anyone interested in using Rdio on Linux should check out Nuvola Player. This player has support for various cloud based music services: Deezer, Rdio, Hypem and others. Nuvola integrates them with Linux desktop providing support for multimedia keys, system tray, media player applets, dock menu, notifications and more.

    Nuvola also requiers Flash for Rdio service:

    This streaming service requires an Adobe Flash plugin compatible with GTK+ 3 to work properly.

    http://nuvolaplayer.fenryxo.cz/home.html

    • Tim Brookes
      July 5, 2013 at 11:49 pm

      Interesting. I also run Chrome, and I also run all plugins as Cick To Play. Spotify's web player requires I "Run All Plugins This Time" to even start to show the UI properly (it moans that I don't have Flash installed otherwise). Whereas Rdio worked without me having to click anything in Chrome, same profile, no plugins enabled, music instantly works.

      I'm running a Mac, which might make the difference - but this was the basis for my observation.

  38. T. Robosson
    July 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    I'm not sure how, but I've been using the Spotify web app since it came out without my account being linked to Facebook. But then, I'm a day one US full subscriber who still hasn't seen the Discovery feature on my desktop app yet. :-(

    • Tim Brookes
      July 5, 2013 at 11:47 pm

      Despite having my UK account for years, Spotify switched it to an Australian account when I added Aus payment info. Not a huge deal I thought, until I noticed my girlfriend who was still on the UK store had the whole Discover/Follow thing and I didn't. The arbitrary decision making into who gets what features is a real let down, especially when you're a top-tier subscriber.

  39. Nguyen H
    July 4, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    I'm in a territory with Spotify support only... so I guest I don't have a choice!
    The way I listen to Spotify is mostly through the Radio feature - pick a song/album/playlist then Start Radio and I find it pretty neat! Is such a feature inside Rdio?

    • Tim Brookes
      July 4, 2013 at 11:00 pm

      Yeah there is artist/playlist/album radio in Rdio, just as Spotify has. They work in the same way, with very similar results. I mentioned it very briefly above as I find them fairly evenly matched.

  40. Jamie
    July 4, 2013 at 7:27 am

    You left out sound quality. Rdio as far as I know doesn't publish bitrates, which is disappointing. And I found a response from them saying they use lower bitrates for mobile users vs desktop. Now if you can't tell or don't care, that's fine, but it would have been a good point for the article. I just signed up for Rdio after reading this article and played some tracks side by side in the browser and Spotify has a slight edge in clarity and details and maybe a touch better in the low end.

    • Tim Brookes
      July 4, 2013 at 7:37 am

      Honestly, I've noticed no difference through decent earphones and a decent amp. Both offer a "high quality" streaming option, and both have been up to my expectations for what a streaming music service should be.

      It has also been said that Spotify may publish bitrates but that it's unlikely that all of their catalogue keeps to that. Personally I think if sound quality is a big deciding factor you should steer clear from lossy streaming services.

      • Jamie
        July 4, 2013 at 8:13 am

        Sound quality is a big factor for me but saying I shouldn't listen to lossy is a little harsh. Why can't I enjoy the benefits of a streaming service and expect great quality? 320 is perfectly acceptable and the same quality as lossless for most ears. Thankfully Spotify provides this quality via desktop and mobile and is not afraid to publish it. Just another data point for your review. Nothing more, nothing less.

        • Tim Brookes
          July 4, 2013 at 11:48 am

          Oh no, I didn't mean you shouldn't listen to it. I just meant if it was the be-all and end-all (i.e. you were someone for whom quality was everything, and you'd invested heavily in that) that maybe lossy formats wouldn't be the best source.

          Hopefully Rdio will disclose its bitrates in the future. I do personally think the quality is pretty great already though, ditto for Spotify.

  41. Fnordsensei
    July 4, 2013 at 6:06 am

    I'm curious as to why the Discover feature of Spotify was not mentioned (in either positive or negative terms). Have you tried it?

    • Tim Brookes
      July 4, 2013 at 6:36 am

      To be honest I had never noticed it on my account until the other day (after I had written this). I know it was released for iPhone yesterday (hours before this article went live, me having wrote it last week), maybe it was because I was using the Australian store or something. I didn't get the Follow functionality for months after my girlfriend had it either (she was using the UK store I think).

      Mystery... looking at it, it looks ok but it's not enough to make me go back to Spotify from Rdio at the moment. Maybe in future, but I just prefer the collection and mobile functionality that Rdio has.

  42. Devin L
    July 3, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    neither spotify nor rdio is available for india... #sad

  43. Guff
    July 3, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Spotify for Linux (preview) is right here:
    https://www.spotify.com/us/download/previews/
    And its available for all

    • Tim Brookes
      July 3, 2013 at 11:59 pm

      Thanks for the link, I can't find a trace of it on the "new" Spotify website. They only advertise versions for Mac and Windows.

      • Guff
        July 4, 2013 at 8:36 am

        You´r right they have hidden it well. Anyway their Linux preview works fine, I´m using it and I just got an update last week

  44. Dylan T
    July 3, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Would be epic if MUO could giveaway Rdio subscriptions in exchange for points. :)

    • James Ezell
      July 4, 2013 at 2:52 am

      or Spotify but ether way I would love to turn in points for a sub

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *