Rdio: Review a Beautiful Subscription Music Service

In recent years, music services have become ubiquitous. There are countless ways to buy, rent and access music. For years I bought digital albums, but about five months ago I decided to try out the subscription model. I wasn't interested in Pandora-type services because choosing specific songs, creating playlists and downloading music (so I don't use up my data plan) are all important to me.

My search led me to three main competitors: Spotify, Rdio and Beats Music. I tested each service for the duration of its free trial, and I honestly liked all of them. They each take a slightly different approach to the same basic service, and they each work well. After much discussion and deliberation, I chose to go with Rdio, and I haven't been disappointed.

Purpose & Functionality

Rdio is a subscription music service that provides access to thirty million songs and allows you to listen to them in four basic ways. You can search and listen by song, album, playlist or station. Creating playlists is as simple as it is in iTunes, but you can also share your playlists with friends and search for playlists created by other people. You can create a station around a song, an artist, an album or a genre, and much like Pandora, you can like or dislike songs to improve the playlist as you listen.

Rating: simplicity, usefulness, beauty and necessity

  • Simplicity. (9/10) Rdio works as it should in the browser, on the desktop, and on the phone.
  • Usefulness. (9/10) I use Rdio daily for hours at a time. I play it on my work computer, over my speakers at home, through my phone while driving, and when I'm writing at a coffee shop.
  • Beauty. (10/10) Rdio's aesthetic was key in choosing it above its competitors. Beats Music and Spotify both have good design, but Rdio's look and feel fit my style. The blues are much less harsh than the blacks, reds and greens of their competitors.
  • Necessity. (6/10) I must admit that a music subscription is a luxury, not a necessity, but if you are going to spend money on music every month, Rdio is a wonderful place to spend it.
  • Stickiness. (6/10) Rdio has continued to improve over the months I have been using it, but its stickiness factor is pretty low. If another service begins to provide better offerings or a much lower price, I would have to look into switching.


You can download Rdio for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, PC and Mac, or you can listen from any browser at rdio.com.

ReviewsTimothy BuckGeneral