In an age where DRM music has become a thing of the history books and music lovers are being treated to more affordable options to maintain their addictions, the choices between competing music platforms are becoming quite large.

With iTunes still the undisputed king of music sales both in the United States and throughout the world, many continue to use the service, but realize that it becomes very uneconomical when there are thousands of tracks they would like to listen to but cannot afford. And thus music streaming services such as Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, Zune and Music Unlimited have come about, just to name a few.

Today we’ll be taking a quick look at Spotify and Rdio and determine which is the better option.

Interface

Both Rdio and Spotify sport beautiful user interfaces. The desktop application for Spotify has a iTunes esque design to it. Navigating the desktop application is both easy and simple and is available for both Mac and PC. Rdio has desktop applications for both Mac and PC as well and their interface differs from Spotify in style. That being said, we personally prefer the Spotify interface over that of Rdio, at least the desktop application.Screenshot of Spotify - Whats New section

Other than the mobile applications available for both services, the major difference is that Rdio has a web player that does not require you to download anything in order to stream music. This is great for those who listen to music at work and are not allowed to install unapproved applications on the company’s workstations. It’s also great for listening to music on a friend’s computer without having to download said application as well.

As for the mobile applications, both services offer a beautiful layout in which to enjoy music. Personally, we prefer the mobile application for Rdio more than we do for Spotify. The chart below shows you which platforms Spotify and Rdio are on.

Rdio

Spotify

Windows Phone 6.5

No

Yes

Windows Phone 7.x

Yes

Yes

Symbian

No

Yes

webOS

No

Yes

iOS

Yes (including iPad)

Yes (including iPad)

Android

Yes

Yes

BlackBerry

Yes (select devices)

Yes (select devices)

Mac

Yes

Yes

PC

Yes

Yes

Web

Yes

No

 

As you can see, Spotify has a wider availability across platforms than does Rdio. On the upside, Rdio has a web app, something Spotify lacks but is being rumored to get. Both services are available on a wide variety of other devices such as Roku, Sonos and other home entertainment systems.

rdio

Music Selection

Both services have outstanding musical selections boasting millions of songs. Spotify currently boasts between 14 and 15 million songs with Rdio boasting round about the same. That being said, there are exclusives to both platform. For example if you want to listen to certain songs from Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan and others, you will need Rdio. Want to listen to a lot more European music? Spotify may be your answer as its Europe base gives it an advantage with many singers from that side of the world. And of course, selections from the Beatles are not available on either one, though there is no loss for multiple covers of the same song.

Pricing

Spotify allows you free restricted listening, which will include ads. Currently, the service allows you to listen to 10 hours of free music monthly. If you want unlimited streaming on your Mac or PC without ads, get the $4.99 plan. Sadly, Rdio does not have a free option, though they do give you a seven day free trial with the service sans the requirement to enter your credit card details. Their unlimited streaming option for web, PC and Mac is the same $4.99 as is Spotify’s.

Moving up to Premium will cost you $9.99 on both Rdio and Spotify which adds access to mobile devices and other streaming options such as Roku and Sonos. Both services allow you to download tracks for offline listening though you will have to have a current subscription for those offline tracks to work.

The biggest difference here is that Rdio has a family option that gives you two unlimited streaming on all supported devices for $17.99 for two subscriptions or $22.99 for three subscriptions, a savings of 50%. If you want to purchase multiple subscriptions for family members, or friends, Rdio is definitely the better option.

Conclusion

In the end your choice will probably be based on personal preference. We enjoy both services very well. But thanks to Spotify’s great social media integration as well as it’s availability on vastly more mobile devices and the free listening option, it wins this contest. Rdio has a great subscription pricing for families and it is available on the web which are two huge pluses, unfortunately there is nothing free about Rdio.

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