Spotify vs. Rdio

I've been asked "Spotify vs. Rdio" repeatedly. People also know me as a Rdio advocate. I've been a loyal Rdio user for a long time and got dozens to signup. When their app came out I was ecstatic and told everyone I knew about the app and yet another reason to get Rdio. Recently though Spotify came to the US as you probably know (or else why are you reading this post?). At first I was extremely skeptical and thought it was just a bunch of hype so naturally, being myself, I signed up and downloaded the app to prove everyone wrong. Unfortunately I was wrong. Yep, I said it, I was wrong. So, for once and for all, here's my opinion on the two.

I played with it for about a day trying to think of things wrong with it, but I couldn't. One awesome thing is that you can try it totally free. There a few ads here and there, but being able to listen to any song you want on demand for free for up to 20hrs is great. Rdio also has a free 7 day trial. Both are plenty of time to make a choice.

The other place Spotify kicks ass is the app for two reasons. First of all, the spotify app is much more slick and refined looking and best of all it's much more responsive. Rdio's app is just like the web site and I wouldn't be surprised if it's just some kind of copy and paste of the JS, HTML, and CSS with some minor Cocoa elements wrapping it. I've had some minor issues with responsiveness and hangs that I couldn't get out of. The Rdio app only supports Mac also. This is fine if you only work on a Mac, but although I'm on a Mac 75% of the time, I'm on Linux (Ubuntu) quite frequently and once in awhile on Windows. Spotify works on all of these platforms. Installing it on Ubuntu was easy even. It came as a .deb package. (NOTE: To use it on Linux you must use the Premium version of Spotify.)

Rdio's music selection has been increasing fast. It has a lot, if not most, of the music I listen to and I listen to some obscure bands. I'm into punk and metal mostly and some indie bands. For example, Spotify had Defiance, Ohio, Fugazi, and Greydon Square where Rdio said they couldn't ever get those bands. Defiance, Ohio is a completely label and copyright free band and Rdio said it's against their rules to have music without a label or copyright. Rdio had a few bands that weren't on Spotify (such as American Distress), but Spotify clearly won.

Although I don't use it since I use Google Music, Spotify also supports syncing your iPod, iPhone, or Android device with your local music and basically replaces iTunes. It's nice not having two different apps for it. You can also listen to your local music in Spotify. Rdio doesn't do this at all.

One of my absolute favorite features tho of Spotify and Rdio both is syncing to your device for offline play. Both mobile apps work great in my experience and both are easy to use. Spotify has a feature Rdio doesn't though. Spotify lets you keep music for offline play on your computer as well. This is an awesome feature for me because I'm in places without internet quite often. Just recently I was at the Oregon Coast and while the hotel we stayed at had internet it was too slow to do anything. I couldn't even check my Google+. I was able to play my favorite music still with the offline play.

It's not all bad for Rdio though. Rdio does beat Spotify in a couple of areas. It beats it at finding new music by far. You can look up a band in Spotify and get related artists, and it's pretty accurate, but you still have to think of a band to get related music for. Rdio has a nice little "Recommendations" screen where it gives you a bunch of recommendations based on bands. I actually have a hard time getting recommendations in Spotify.

Another thing I miss is the whole social aspect. Rdio is a social network in it's self. Spotify syncs to Facebook, but it's just not the same. You can see everything your friends do on Rdio from their listening history, syncs to their mobile device, and adds to their collections. You can also comment and rate albums, artists, and even songs. I miss that a lot.

A smaller missed feature with Spotify is that you can't listen online. I share music with friends and family a lot and i've given demos of Rdio online to a lot of people which makes it easy to get to people to try something. It's also nice to just be able to use any computer even if you're at a friends place or even a public space like a library to access your music.

In the end I decided to go with (drum roll...) Spotify. While the social aspect is great, and finding new music is much easier in Rdio, the smaller library of music and slicker app on top of the offline support for your computer pushed me to cancel Rdio and switch to Spotify. I'm sorry Rdio! If you can get a bigger library we might meet again.