The State of Digital Music: The Rdio Conversations

Jason Paul @tod those are enlightening numbers. Not too surprising as I seem to keep running into all of you in the album comments across Rdio. I suspected as much since Rdio’s transparent listen counter (which I love) is very low even for really popular acts.

I’m totally with you in being a Rdio evangalist/enthusiast. I’ve been called on it a few times, but when you find something of real value it gets to be baffling when the majority willfully ignores it. And in the case of Spotify, a bunch of folks just goes for the service they’re ‘supposed’ to go for.

I’m kind of torn about the social experience on Rdio. There’s no reason why it should be better if it’s to remain focused on music (which we all agree it does incredibly well). But I’ve gone for weeks without seeing that someone commented in a playlist of mine. Maybe just a few modest improvements wouldn’t be much to ask. I think some are against notifications, but without those it’s barely social.

Back to Rdio evangalism. Inspite of an undercurrent of distaste for Facebook (that I know I have) Tod is absolutely right that it’s integral to Rdio’s survival. Rdio doesn’t really need to be a social network (as evidenced by the iPad app) but it does need people listening to its streaming music. (After direct tech support from Rdio I do indeed have Rdio and Facebook working properly together now).

So if indeed I’m right that subscription music has gone mainstream (I’m not sure I am as evidenced by the majority of my Facebook friends) the best thing we can do is…um…listen to music and make sure it populates that stupid Facebook ticker.

We need to consider that this is a crucial moment for Rdio in the subscription space. Spotify is literally in bed with Facebook and we’re kind of lucky that they’ve even let Rdio play directly in that space. (I saw that movie…Sean Parker loves Zuckerberg etc). But I’m just not into Spotify. It feels stale like iTunes. Rdio has always felt fresh to me.

I would hate to see this go down like iTunes last decade with Spotify becoming ubiquitous with streaming music just as iTunes is with downloaded music. I fear it’s dangerously close to becoming that. But this moment is Rdio’s chance. 5 weeks ago

tod nelson I, for one, like the Rdio-Facebook deal from a selfish pov. I fear for the survival of Rdio. From all the info I can garner, Rdio has about 100k users, 50k a week, and a mere 2k visiting the site on a daily basis. I’ve spent A LOT of time recently researching all the other music streaming sites, and believe me, Rdio is the best of the bunch. And now that I’ve been here almost a year, I’ve totally abandoned other music tech–haven’t bought a cd or downloaded a song in months. With all the time and “work” I’ve put into Rdio (playlists, reviews, recommending, discovery, developing a deep collection, etc) I am totally invested in Rdio’s survival and would be bummed to start from scratch on another site. Like Jason says, I hope that subscription-based music streaming went “mainstream” yesterday, and I hope Rdio benefits enormously from an influx of users via FB. For my part, I’m going to evangelize Rdio as much as I can to my FB network.

Also, I don’t understand the complaints about social experience on Rdio. I’ve found it a far more social experience than anything I’ve encountered on any of the other sites. This list is a perfect case in point. What would you all like to see Rdio do to increase the social aspect? Direct messaging? Personal play feed? I’m pretty happy trolling the feed, sending recs and messages via album/song share, and posting reviews on playlists. Though I never got to experience the nirvana of Lala, so I don’t know what I’m missing! 5 weeks ago

GrEtcHen JP, the Slate author explains the reason niche social works better than FB social:

“Social sites work better when they’re smaller and bespoke, created to cater to a specific group. What makes Ravelry work so well is…there is something to do there. And having something to do turns out to make an enormous difference in the way people interact with one another on the Web.” 5 weeks ago

4 thoughts on “The State of Digital Music: The Rdio Conversations”

  1. Great post and comments!

    Right. So… Is Rdio the Future of Music?

    The problem with these sorts of “x is the future of y” discussions, particularly where technology is concerned, is that x always changes the nature of y. Because of this, you can never quite arrive at point y.

    I see Rdio and it’s ilk bumping into a few issues shortly that run along these lines:

    1) The closer these services get to delivering on the promise of offering “almost everything” in the world of music, the more they will underscore what isn’t offered. Put another way, how much music needs to be available to make up for the fact that what you want to hear right now isn’t?

    2) Part of the appeal of these services lies in the social aspect, which presently is built on the enthusiasm of early adopters and music nerds. The tone and quality of the social interaction will change as more users sign on. Will Rdio still be compelling?

    3) Rdio is presently a novel way of trying to monetize music in a time where monetizing music is difficult. It’s an experiment that is occurring concurrently with other experiments at trying to resuscitate the monetization of music. A verdict will be reached. Recent high profile releases by Coldplay, Black Keys, Tom Waits — to name a few — are not present on Rdio. Presumably this is because posting on streaming services is viewed as possibly undermining the success of other channels, both experimental and traditional. Is this the start of a verdict being reached? Will this assessment be shared by others?

    Just a few thoughts.


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