Debates have begun since the launch of Spotify in the U.S. over which service is better, and why. Spotify and Rdio are very similar, but have their individual pluses and drawbacks. The two services could arguably be equally as good — still; price, functionality, and practicality are my concerns when trying to compare.
Spotify would be a first choice for many since they offer a free subscription service — of course there are limitations at this level. First being, 20 hours a month for the first six months. After that it drops to 10 hours per month and limits your playback to 5 plays per song. Rdio on the other hand does not offer any type of free subscription, but does start at the same price as Spotify. In order to get the full functionality of playing songs on your mobile device you’ll need to subscribe to either Rdio’s Unlimited Plan, or Spotify’s Premium Plan. At max you will be paying $9.99 for either of the services.
Okay so you don’t care what it costs…
Many people want a seamless experience and both services do a great job at playing back tunes where ever you happen to be. However, Spotify’s lack of web support really hits hard with me. I’ve definitely used my Rdio account at other places outside my home, and it works freekin’ awesome. I guess I could install the Spotify program on another computer, but who does that these days? Rdio makes it feel more “cloud-like”, which is all the rave for 2011. If you’re looking for that native program feel — both Rdio and Spotify have great programs that kind of make the music feel like it’s yours. Sadly, it’s not..Mwahahaha.
As a person who desires and enjoys a great UI I have to say Rdio is at the front of the line in my opinion. It looks less cluttered and seems to have more organization throughout the desktop app, website, and mobile apps. Again, these are strictly my thoughts as someone who believes they have a keen eye for good design.
Blah blah blah, okay, so you’re like an artsy weirdo. Got it. Can we talk about social?
Sure, for Spotify it’s pretty simple. Facebook. As far as I can tell it looks like the only social capabilities within Spotify are through Facebook. This would make sense since Facebook is working on implementing a Spotify player within their platform, so I guess there’s your web play back too. Rdio on the other hand, links to Twitter, Facebook, and provides public links to share playlists. They also have a built in social network where you can follow people of interest and look at their collection, playlists, history, and more.
Personally, these options are not what I care about mainly and will probably not engage in to much social activity. I just want to listen to and discover music, and occasionally share a playlist with a friend. Consider this the new way to distribute mix tapes.
Overall, I’m positive Spotify will make the proper changes as they see necessary and will more than likely improve. On the flip side, because they are advertising so heavily it’s likely that they will surpass Rdio — unless Rdio tries to offer a similar free package. Spotify has more songs than Rdio, which gives them an upper hand. However, now that you know a little more about the two products I’m sure you’ll make an educated decision. If you’re still unsure then listen to us live 07/16/2011 at 9PM EST on our weekly podcast.