Rdio vs Spotify

The trend has changed. Not so long ago, people enjoy portable music by amassing CDs and MP3 audio tracks. Today, however, many people prefer to use a streaming service to enjoy some music while going on their daily activities. Given a good Internet connection, you will be able to listen to the beats in any location at any time. It is much more convenient than having to bring your favorite CDs everywhere or to download all your favorite songs manually.

There are many streaming services now available, such as Rdio and Spotify. Both Rdio and Spotify offer subscription-based Internet radio services; however, there are some notable differences too that set them apart from each other. So, what are the differences between Rdio and Spotify? Which is the best music streaming service for you?

Overview: Rdio

Rdio is an online music streaming service founded by Niklas Zennström, Janus Friis, and Carter Adamson in August 2010. It started with a web-based interface, though it now has both web and desktop user interfaces, as well as mobile apps. Rdio is focused around albums for browsing and playing music. It matches your local iTunes or WMP library and accesses the licensed catalog from all your networked devices. On November 2015, Rdio filed for bankruptcy so that it has to sell some intellectual properties to Pandora Radio.

Overview: Spotify

Spotify is an online streaming music for music, podcast, and video, officially launched in October 2008 by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon. It provides right-protected content from record labels and media companies to be streamed to users. It is a freemium service. Per June 2017, Spotify has amassed more than 140 million monthly active users with at least 50 million paying subscribers. It started as a desktop app, but then launched web-based and mobile interfaces as well.

Rdio vs. Spotify: Starting Out

Before we proceed further, let’s not forget the number one thing that can greatly determine our choice: geographical availability. Rdio is now available in all North American countries, most of South American and European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. On the other hand, Spotify seems to be available in more countries. It was first released in the United States, but it is now also available in Canada, many Latin America and Europe countries, and more Asia Pacific countries including Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand. Signing up on both services is quite easy – they seem to be a little bit too eager about your Facebook details, but you are allowed to sign up without any social account by using the email registration link instead.

Rdio vs. Spotify: User Experience

Both Rdio and Spotify are available as desktop clients. Spotify’s desktop player is quite neat and intuitive. The response is pretty much like iTunes and Foobar2000. The interface received an update some time ago; the color scheme is now paler, perhaps more convenient for some people’s eyes. In addition, you can also now “follow” your favorite artists to stay up to date with their latest releases. However, in general, Spotify hasn’t changed much in the last seven years or so. The web player is similar to the iPad app, but the reliance on Flash is somewhat annoying, considering that Flash is a pretty much outdated technology.

Rdio’s desktop player is quite like a wrapper for its web interface, although that is not very obvious prior to download. Because of that, you may want to just use the web interface instead. The desktop app simply appears like a browser tab that is not docked to a browser. It is not as fast or as responsive as Spotify’s app. At least, the lighter color scheme is quite pleasant to look at. The web interface is simple yet neat and organized. The “Now Playing” panel slides up from the bottom of the screen, allowing for a light, uncluttered display.

Rdio vs. Spotify: Music Catalog

One of the biggest debates when choosing for a music streaming service is about the music catalog. What songs are available on it? Is your favorite artist available on it? Well, both Rdio and Spotify have huge libraries of music, but, between the two, Rdio indeed has fewer songs than Spotify. Apparently, all songs available on Rdio are available on Spotify too. But that is not vice versa; Spotify, with the richer collection, may have some songs that are not available on Rdio.

Also, the two services are different that Rdio focuses on albums, whereas Spotify on playlists. Rdio allows you to add songs to a collection that is separate from the playlists. Thus, Rdio’s management can be more convenient than Spotify’s.

Rdio vs. Spotify: Pricing

Both Rdio and Spotify are available in three tiers, which can be considered as “free”, “unlimited”, and “premium”. The “free” tier of Rdio allows a limited number of streams per track per month, and lasts only for six months. Once you reach the limit, you will have to wait for the next month or subscribe. On the good side, Rdio’s free version is entirely free-service. Meanwhile, Spotify’s “free” tier already gives unlimited free listening, but the songs would play on random/shuffle and there would be ads in-between some songs. On either service, the “unlimited” version would enable you to listen without any limit and without any advertisement, but only on the desktop and web interfaces. The “premium” tier of either service lets you listen from all your devices and download for offline listening. The prices are more-or-less comparable.

- Available mostly in American and European countries, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand- Available in many American and European countries and some Asia Pacific countries
- The desktop client is way too simple, but the web interface is neat- Faster, more responsive interface with a contemporary design
- Has a smaller music catalog- Has a larger music catalog
- The free version is ad-free, but only lasts six months- The free version is unlimited, but contains ads and only allows you to play on shuffle


Rdio and Spotify are two of the most popular online music streaming services. So far, Spotify is the one that is available in more countries and used by more people. Spotify also has a larger collection of songs. Though not all people like the interface very much, we can’t deny that the interface is quick and responsive. Spotify’s unlimited free version is also nice if you don’t plan to subscribe. Rdio has a very neat web interface, but that alone is not enough to beat Spotify.

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