Spotify v. Rdio: The Final Solution?

(Note: this article has been edited to reflect changes with OS X 10.7, Lion.)

I have gotten a lot of questions about these two services, and seen some serious debate about the two, so I thought I would try them both out for a while and share my thoughts here. Mind you I am a typical user, so forgive me if I missed some super technical specs somewhere along the line that most people would never care about. Sorry. I have been an Rdio user for a while now, with a Premium subscription; check them out here. I tried out a similar subscription on Spotify for a couple of weeks, more info here.

Rdio or Spotify?

Both of these services offer streaming music over the internet, with more features for a monthly fee, $9.99 for either one. I really had little problem finding music I wanted to listen to with either service, but I also found a few artists or tracks missing with both. The stuff that’s not included is different for each service, so you might want to check on the availability of your favorite artist or album. Both services included an iPhone app, which I also found to be useable either way.  Both feature a sort of sync/upload of your iTunes library, which was a nice touch.

Whats Good About Spotify.

Spotify is new to the U.S., but they really are the “800-lb. Gorilla” of streaming music services; this means they are not going anywhere anytime soon. In theory, they have more music available, although again that varies depending on what you are looking for. I found the music quality on Spotify to be a teeny-weeny bit better, but I had to concentrate on headphones to notice it, and even then it seemed to only be on a few tracks. Making playlists with Spotify is a breeze, with drag and drop functionality. I made several really good playlists in a matter of minutes, and I thought this was one of their best features. Spotify’s sync features to the iPhone app worked flawlessly, wirelessly and fast, and really could take over for iTunes.

Whats Bad About Spotify.

The entire user interface on the desktop app is really poor, and frankly, just ugly. Also, there is no way to minimize the player to a “mini-player”, so you are stuck looking at the ugly interface anytime you want to listen. There is no web-version of Spotify, so you have to have the desktop player open all the time. I also found searching for music in Spotify to be strange. I am a U.S. customer, but my search results constantly turned up music that was only available in Europe, and thus not playable by me. So why am I seeing it?

Whats Good About Rdio.

The user interface on Rdio looks much better, and you can minimize the player to a mini-player so it is out of the way but still functional. It just seems like the buttons and options on the Rdio player are where you would think they should be, and that is good UI design. I like that. I found the Rdio iPhone app to also be more user-friendly, and it was much easier to search for new music to add to my collection on there. Search results with Rdio were almost always spot on, giving me exactly what I was looking for. Rdio also has a browser-based version, so you don’t have to have the desktop app installed to listen. Not a big deal, but it comes in handy when I am troubleshooting computers over at my mom’s!

Whats Bad About Rdio.

Rdio is a fairly young company, so I have some fears that the work I put into it may disappear someday.  Making playlists in Rdio is kind of a pain, as you have to add each track one at a time, and there seems to be no way to add an entire album to a playlist all at once. Drag and drop playlists? No way. Adding one song at a time takes for-ev-er. The iPhone sync from Rdio also seems slow, and not really automated; you have to tell it what to sync and when. Their desktop app is actually in Adobe Flash, which I have found to be a real pain, especially after an upgrade to OSX Lion.

The Final Solution.

Despite all of the ups and downs I listed here, I really saw most of this stuff as little quirks or annoyances. The bottom line for me is that both of these services are very good, and I could happily use either. I prefer the interface of Rdio, and they happen to have a couple of artists I like that Spotify doesn’t, although their reliance on Adobe Flash disappoints me. Spotify has pretty much everything I need, easier playlist creation, and no Flash, but their interface is so clunky I can’t see myself using it. I am with Rdio for now. I would encourage anyone interested to try them both out for a month, see which one is right for you and go with it. Meanwhile, follow me on Rdio, at macbuddha1.

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2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 43 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 101 posts. There were 13 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 2mb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was April 24th with 132 views. The most popular post that day was iPad: First Impressions.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were alphainventions.com, twitter.com, macworld.com, facebook.com, and iconfactory.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for sync notes ipad, sync notes on ipad, ipad sync notes, how to sync notes on ipad, and sync notes to ipad.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

iPad: First Impressions April 2010

2

Sync Notes on iPad? March 2010

3

Aperture 3: First Impressions… February 2010

4

iOS4, and Everything is as it Should Be June 2010

5

About December 2008
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