The State of Digital Music: The Rdio Conversations

Marshall Preddy 1) Just added some of you on Spotify.

2) There are lots of things to like about Spotify. But there are two overwhelming positives for me. First, making playlists is so incredibly fast and easy. And (as Matt said) you can add whole records to playlists. This makes it easy to create sub-collections (e.g., comps, jazz, blues). I LOVE this aspect of the service. Second, everything is so incredibly fast in general. That’s to be expected of a desktop app, but note that Spotify’s actually faster than iTunes, MediaMonkey, or WMP. Impressive. Finally, I like the easy Facebook integration. But I have a lot of Facebook friends who are musicians and music lovers. I’m looking forward to seeing them on Spotify.

3) That said there are significant negatives to Spotify:

– No social feed unless users directly and purposefully share to the feed (it’s under “What’s new”). I prefer Rdio’s feed because they gently force listeners to share what they’re listening to. And I want to know what people are listening to. – There’s no radio feature. Without a Pandora/Rdio like “radio” button, it’s much harder to discover new music. – The catalog isn’t as filled out as you would expect for having 14 or 15 million songs. There’s no Arcade Fire. There’s no Bob Dylan. But they do have Galaxie 500, so that’s a plus (get on Galaxie, Rdio!). On a side note, they don’t have Drag City either. – The Mobile app is crap. It’s unresponsive and slow and poorly organized. Since Rdio redesigned theirs to be more like Mog, I’ve loved it.

In short, playlist creation and being able to toggle the privacy on selected playlist is the big gain with Spotify. And it’s a significant gain. I’ll be paying $4.99 a month for it and loving it.

On Rdio, though, I’ll stick with my $9.99 per month plan. The social / discovery features remain superior and mobile app is far more usable. $15 is still less than I used to pay on Emusic. 🙂


3 months ago

Turd Ferguson I actually found a few review… 3 months ago

GrEtcHen spotify:user:popsilly

add ons… 3 months ago


And no, BC this is not a new and improved me, just that I fooled around with this before and/or there is another maudeman in the world. 3 months ago

thebigfunk . This is a really great conversation with some excellent voices weighing in. I dl’d Spotify this morning for a test-drive of the unlimited version… figured I might as well give it a whirl.

But I do so w/mixed feelings about FB integration. One of the best lala features was direct recommendations to non-subscribers or members. Spotify might help to revive that a bit. I also like the idea of being able to share playlists to FB. On the other hand, most of my music discovery comes from music communities, not “everyday” friends/peers… and do I really need that girl who friended me because she knew me in kindergarten to witness live, in her newsfeed, my inexplicable love for Billy Joel? With a few of my FB friends I can see some benefit (I still do a mixtape exchange w/folks every once and a while), but on the whole I have more reservations than optimism.

Three things I hope Rdio gets out of this competition, however: 1. Make private playlists possible. Most of my playlists have just a few songs – they’re memory joggers for me. I’d like to be able to “curate” my playlists that others see, so I can make more “meaningful” contributions to the community. 2. Direct user-to-user communication. I’ve had several folks send me recommendations, and in order to send them a msg back I have to recommend them something to? This isn’t the end of the world, but it’s a bit absurd to have a social networking service w/out direct msging.

3. Make the service as a whole more group friendly. How cool would it be if they jumped into the listening room game (i.e., mumu/ listening room)? Or at least created an internal forum in which it was easy to link directly to albums/tunes, etc. There are some real options for community engagement/building that are being missed out on because, like someone said below, we have to cobble together a series of platforms to create a full experience. There are benefits to that process, but a whole lot of drawbacks…

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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