Imagine owning almost every song ever, you can listen when you want, where you want, and without an Internet connection. That’s essentially Rdio, the unlimited online music service that features a gigantic library (15 millions songs and counting), mobile offlining, integrated social network, and it’s legal too!
A lot of people seem to know Spotify, but where’s the love for Rdio? Unlike Spotify, Rdio is a web-based interface; you don’t have to download (or update) a program on your computer. It will work on just about any web browser, and you can take your account anywhere. The online interface received an update lately making it cleaner, lighter, and quicker.
The Rdio interface is intuitive and natural to use. There’s no clutter or ads, and it feels like any other media player you’ve used over the years. It’s well programmed too; the browser’s back and forward buttons won’t stop music playback. Music is well organized by complete album listings. Albums feature high resolution album art, artist biographies, and similar artists. On Rdio, search is king. You don’t have to dig very deep to find the song, artist, or album you were looking for. The search autocomplete helps.
One of Rdio’s best features is its social integration. You can discover some of the best music from your friends, or even like-minded users and groups. You can follow popular radio stations, magazines, companies, and even celebrities. Collaborate with friend on the ultimate party playlist, or just subscribe to a taste-maker’s playlist. Similar to other services, you can create a radio station from music you like. This is another great way to discover music.
The beauty of Rdio is it’s ability to offline music to any mobile device, removing the dependence on an Internet connection. You can even offline music to your phone or tablet directly from the web browser on any computer. There’s an Rdio app for iOS (including a special iPad app), Android, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry. You can offline as much music as your heart desires and your device can store.
As an iPhone user, reducing my dependence on iTunes for music has been liberating. Rather than dealing with the syncing process everytime I wanted to add a few new songs from my library, I can just offline them from Rdio’s iPhone app. Plus I don’t have to pay $1 per song. With that said, I also don’t officially own the music. Rdio owns all of their music licenses, which is great, but there’s a few gaps in their library. Beatles and Metallica are examples of missing artists, however in most cases, the content is available for purchase.
Rdio and Spotify stack up very closely. They both have nearly the same amount of music, each missing their share of artists and songs. In terms of which has the better interface, it very much comes down to personal preference. They’re both laid out in a familiar fashion; media center style. Rdio, however, is available on any computer without the need to download an application–that’s a pretty important feature. Nicely enough, you can download a Windows or Mac Rdio application, if that’s what you prefer. Rdio and Spotify both have a deep social integration, though Spotify relies more on Facebook to achieve this. You can subscribe to anyone’s playlists and offline them as well.
When it comes down to Rdio vs Spotify, there’s no real winner. Both have pretty good freemium plans. Spotify you can listen to music forever, but you have to listen, and look at, advertisements. Rdio is ad-free, but there’s a monthly cap to how much you can listen to. I’ve been using Spotify longer, and have a little more invested in it. I find the Spotify iPhone app to be more versatile, however Rdio has one feature that I prefer to Spotify. When searching an artist on mobile, you can choose from “top songs,” whereas Spotify only allows you to search by album. Spotify is easier to create radio stations, on-the-go, from any song. Spotify is easier for creating and editing playlists on-the-go. Both have really nice looking iPad apps.
Rdio is free to use and ad-free as a web streaming service, though it’s not unlimited. In the US and Canada, it costs $4.99 for unlimited web streaming, and $9.99 for complete unlimited streaming and downloading on all devices. That includes platforms like Sonos and Roku and a desktop application. The desktop app can integrate your computer’s media keys and also match your iTunes library. If you pay for at least a few songs per month, then it’s very worth it to at least try out Rdio for free. It’s a fantastic way to discover new music and artists, and also collaborate with friends on what’s hot.
The Good: Clean and Fast Interface, Easy and Intuitive to Use, Mobile Apps including iPad, Unlimited Streaming and Offlining, Social Integration, Library Matching, Complete Albums
essentially Rdio, the unlimited online music service that features a gigantic library (15 millions songs and counting), mobile offlining, integrated social network, and it’s legal too!