From the founders of Skype we get delivered Rdio for our listening pleasure. Rdio is a add free music-streaming social network. Now there are many things that are done very well when it comes to Rdio, and then there are some lacking points. When you got developers with the type of experience that the Skype guys have you can expect to get a certain level of quality no matter what. Did they fall short or pull through to take over the music-streaming app on my mobile device.
Features: Rdio does exactly what it is advertised to do as a program and service. It is advertised as giving you access to a vast library of music anywhere with a simple interface. Now allow me to dwell on that idea for a minute. No matter which of the many platforms that you can access Rdio on you choose to use its comfortable. The interface you given on most devices is immediately accepted because its familiar to us a-la-iTunes store. If you have ever cruised apple’s infamous store, you may feel like it’s a walk down memory lane (from yesterday). However this can’t really be counted as a downfall, because it works so darn well.
Recommendations: Rdio recommends music to you based off of your listening history. This idea was great in concept but falls short in a lot of the same ways that I feel the “genius” in our iPods is nothing more this a “smart kid”. It never really suggested something that I would like to hear.
Collection: This option allows you to pull some of your favorite songs or albums out of the cloud so that you can play them while you offline. This would be useful for you train commuters and such, but in most situations in today’s day and age we seldom are lacking a net connection on our mobiles. Even still this is a feature that gives the user just that little extra bit of freedom. Although the music in collections can’t leave the app itself, it’s still a nice touch.
Activity tabs: Rdio takes the liberty of organizing the music at your disposal by what is at the top of todays charts and what is in “heavy Rotation” amongst other Rdio-ers. This makes it easy to find that song that was playing on the radio or in you friend’s car the other day a breeze. Rdio makes dealing with the size of the library at your disposal a pleasure to work with and to look at. The interface for all of these tabs are classily done, equipped with album art and animations.
Platforms: Rdio is on so many different platforms for how long it has been around. The tool is available on every iOS device, Android, PC, and Mac. That is a very impressive line up. What’s even more impressive is the polish that shows in each of these implementations of the tool.
What’s missing: I honestly feel like the social aspect is what’s truly missing from Rdio. It doesn’t address other people you may know well at all. The concept is there but their actual execution is sloppy, which when put next to the polish of the rest of the system is disappointing. The social aspect is a half attempt at a twitter and iTunes Ping (that thing that no one uses on the sidebar) mash-up that unfortunately just never grows on you. You get no real benefit of adding friends, and its not an easy task to find others you may know either.
The next downer is the fact that you are supposed to pay for this service. Now don’t mistake the idea that I don’t think we should pay for things, but I don’t feel like there is enough here for me to dedicate that 10$ a month they are asking for. The music portion is spot on but I have things like “my own library” and Pandora for when I really just am looking for something I don’t have.
For Rdio to be a fully successful social addiction it will need to put the music player and selection portion of the system on the back burner. We are certain that can do that portion well. They need to focus on giving its users something to do while they listen to their music. Start throwing in fun fact a-la-“music choice” or ways for people to comment on individual songs. These are just suggestions and it is clear that the social aspect of this social tool needs a serious overhaul.
Competition: The first competitor that comes to mind is Spotify, and honestly the only one that holds a candle to Rdio. Spotify does unfortunately handle the social aspect of this type of tool much better than Rdio. Truthfully there isn’t much from the descriptions of Spotify that I have received that differentiates either of these tools from each other but the name. This is a good and a bad thing for Rdio. It’s good because Rdio is younger then it’s competition by two years. The creativity and drive is still new in the Rdio developers, and hopefully they are working on an amazing social model to be implemented in Rdio in the near future.
Overall: for only having been in production for a little under a year Rdio definitely has some promise. With just a few issues to iron out or just simply enlisting some help (friends list from facebook for example) Rdio is a solid addition to the music world of applications. Its user interface is almost flawless. If you were to have to replace your current ipod interface with this one you would be pleased with the change. It has not yet reached the point where it is a successful social tool, but with some fine-tuning that section could flourish. For what its worth the app is worth a download on whatever platform you have since its amazingly available on whatever you can think of. On past that I have been past my trial date and the only feature I have successfully lost is the ability to play full songs in my collection, so I use it.