Battle : Spotify vs Rdio
Music is and will always be one of the biggest media industries. More artist, styles, albums, etc. come out each and every day – and people find more and more music they like. At an average of about 10 bucks an album, it can get expensive; Spotify and Rdio are solving this issue, by providing unlimited music streaming for a measly $5 a month. So which of the two is better, we let them butt heads to find out!
Plans – (Winner – Tie)
It was just today Rdio announced it would start offering a free service; just weeks after Spotify revealed it would allow unlimited streaming for 6 months. We took the free and paid plans and compared them…
Paid Subscription – Tie
Both companies offer a $5 per month unlimited desktop streaming, with the option to upgrade for an additional $5 per month to premium, which allows for streaming to mobile.
Free Subscription – Spotify – Read Below.
At the time of review, Spotify was offering 6 months of unlimited free streaming to all its users. Normally their free plan matches Rdio’s free plan of X number of hours per month. In reality both sections should be a tie considering their actual plans are identical, but for now Spotify has the upper hand.
With the plans mimicking each other it really comes down to the next 3 categories to declare a winner, and we listed them in order of what we think is most important to least.
Features – (Winner – Rdio)
Both sites have the same basic feature set; from the gate, Rdio takes the crown of this category when accessing its web interface. Not only does Spotify fail to implement one at all, Rdio provides a replica of its desktop app on the web. On top of that, with Rdio we were able to effortlessly continue listening to our last played playlist, song, artist, etc. across any interface. If we had queued up Cold War Kids on our desktop app, instantly upon switching to the web application we were welcomed with our last played song ready to be played, without refreshing the page.
Rdio also implements other neat features such as their unique bubble view system. After going to your collection you are presented with what looks like numerous bubbles each assigned to an artist, based on number of plays or how many tracks depending on the tab you choose, your circles will expand relative to the others. This feature doesn’t come without its minor bugs, sometimes with a good amount of tracks we’d find a shaking bubble, but it still allowed us easily to see what we were listening to most. Lastly on Rdio we found one more feature we enjoyed that wasn’t present on Spotify, Reviews. As a media site were all about sharing opinions and collaboration, and the reviews allowed us to gather a general consensus on new tracks, artists, etc. Spotify attempts to even the playing field with how easy it made desktop syncing that was only available to mobile on Rdio. We found ourselves using Rdio’s web application more than offline music so it gets the trophy, but we know that too some, offline music is a necessity.
Interface – (Winner – Rdio)
Our second most important aspect is for sure the interface. If we are going to eliminate our existing music sources and focus on either of these we need to be able to navigate easily. After a week of using the services, Rdio had come out on top again. Rdio uses a structure similar to an internet browser. Your controls and information is all up top in a compact but readable bar, with your current position within its application in the center; no sidebars, no ads, and no extra junk, after all were just here to listen to music right? Spotify’s interface left us feeling overwhelmed with the content and controls spread all over the application.
Spotify continued to confuse us with its impractical operations; such as having two general music library’s. In Rdio you are given a “Collection” page, this stores any music you choose to add. Spotify has delegated two sections, its “Library” and “Windows Media Player”. While browsing through Spotify, you have the option to add music only to “Windows Media Player”, only after music has been added there, starred, or added to a playlist, will it appear inside the Library. We were not able to delete music from our library; similar to adding it, it would only be removed once deleted from “Windows Media Player”. Why Spotify choose to do things that way, we just couldn’t come up with a logical answer.
Quality – (Winner – Tie)
Playback platforms always strive to deliver the truest replica of the original recording, while optimizing quality through multiple formats, bitrates, and levels of signal quality. Fortunately for Spotify and Rdio users, during our tests over Wi-Fi we experienced the same quality across numerous styles of music and never were either one noticeably better.
Conclusion – Stalemate.
With our quality test ending in a tie, it made it easy for us to define a winner of our own personal tests, but we can’t say the same for you. The winning factors for Rdio of the Features and Interface category are arguably opinion based decisions. If you absolutely need offline desktop syncing then for now Spotify is the right choice, have multiple computers or don’t want a desktop app, then Rdio’s web interface is probably your cup of tea. Both services have their ups and downs and even though we just couldn’t figure out Spotify’s interface we think it’s a fierce competitor for Rdio and both should be careful not to let their guard down.