Comparing Rdio and Spotify iOS apps

by Ian Rosenwach on 2.3.2013

As an avid music listener and product manager, I like understanding the different music products on the market.

I started using subscription streaming services with Rdio about 3 years ago, switched to Spotify about a year ago, then decided to switch back to Rdio a few weeks back. Not as much because Spotify was not meeting my needs, but to see how Rdio stacks up after spending time with Spotify.

Overall, the Spotify experience is based on playlists while Rdio is more about building a collection.


  1. Network:  Spotify has the larger user network, which means better music discovery based on what your friends are listening to
  2. Network:  More music sites and people link out to Spotify
  3. User Experience: Rdio has better collection navigation.  What I ended up doing on Spotify is building a playlist which acted as a catch-all for my collection.  One of the most frustrating points of Spotify is they have no letter-navigation (A-Z list on the right side of the screen) to browse through LONG lists of songs.
  4. User Experience: Rdio shows your listening history.  This goes along with their overall experience of being more collection-based.  It could potentially have a side effect of creating less of a focus on music discover.
  5. User Experience:  No rational sorting of playlists in Rdio.  Makes it hard to manage a long list of playlists.  Why not just make it alphabetical at least?  Spotify is chronological with most recent at the top.
  6. Performance:  In terms of app speed, overall Rdio wins

Rdio App Reliability Issues

  1. I had issues with the reliability of the Rdio iOS app.  I typically stream through Apple TV and sometimes the connection is spotty.  This didn’t happen with Spotify.
  2. The Rdio app also behaves unexpectedly sometimes.  A different song will play then the one I select.  Sometimes it’s two before in a playlist, sometimes it’s a totally different song.  Never had this type of issue with Spotify and a serious issue.

I have to go back to Spotify — sorry, Rdio.

P.S.  If Spotify replaced Rdio on Shazam, that would be a plus!

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