There has been a lot of talk about streaming music services since Spotify launched in the United States last month. The two services I keep hearing about are Spotify and Rdio. Since the idea of unlimited streaming music appeals to me I decided to try an experiment; for one month I paid for Rdio and Spotify premium accounts ($10/month each) allowing me to listen to their entire catalogs on my desktop as well as on my mobile device, in my case an iPhone 4.
I spent two weeks in Los Angeles and two weeks in New York City using the desktop and mobile applications really working these two services as hard as I would work iTunes and my iPod (on iPhone). I have stated that iTunes is the killer app that keeps me in the Apple ecosystem, but as streaming services gain more popularity and have larger collections that might not be true forever.
(You can click on most images for a larger view. This is particularly helpful when I am talking about the mobile applications. -C)
While both services provide all-you-can-eat streaming music the overall concepts of Rdio and Spotify are different. Spotify aims to blur the line between what you are storing locally on your computer and what is streaming over the internet. Spotify will bring all of your local music into its application and from there you can create playlists that include your music as well as anything available on their service. It’s almost like a music library enhancement.
Rdio scans your locally stored music and adds whatever it can to your streaming “collection”. Once your scan is done you can hunt down more music to add to your collection, or remove things that you don’t want. You can always listen to things outside of your collection, but the collection is kind of like your library, it is the stuff that is immediately at your fingertips, and probably the stuff you want to listen too.
You manage a lot of Rdio with the + button. Clicking it allows you to add something to your collection, share with friends, sync to mobile, listen later, add to a playlist… it does everything. The + changes to a check when it moves into your collection and shows a phone icon if it’s synced to mobile. It’s easy to use and very useful.
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