Rdio Icon

Let’s start with what Rdio actually is. It is a subscription based music service which means that you pay a certain amount per month and then you can listen to all the music they have to offer as much as you want. What that means is a dream-come-true, because you can “have” every song that you want immediately.

Say you’re listening to a song on the radio and you really want to have it. The only thing you need to know is the name of the song and boom you can have it. That is very promising to me.

There are other similar services around, the best known one being Spotify, which is not available in Germany though.

Does it deliver?

The very short version is: Not really. There are some problems that currently make it a bit difficult to go all in with Rdio.

The first and most severe one is song availability. You can only listen to a song if Rdio has it (they have 12 Million songs) and you are allowed to stream it in your region. Up until now I found every song that I was looking for but about 20 - 30% of them are not available in my region which is a bit too much. After all the appeal of a subscription based model is to get every song you want.

Issue number two is the usability of the app. On a computer you can stream the music directly in the browser (which is very cool) or use a Mac App (Windows too I guess). Both look and behave very similar. What I am missing most is something like a sidebar to house playlists so I can drag and drop songs there. Or at least some bulk actions so that I can mark a couple of songs and then add them to a playlist. Because right now this task is very tiresome. You have to click open the context menu for a song, click “Add to playlist” and then choose the playlist from a dropdown. And that for every single song.

Rdio Icon

Then there is the mobile app, in my case for Windows Phone as pictured above. I haven’t played around with that one too much but from a general app perspective it seams to be well designed. But I had problems with playing the songs I have synced to my phone before. To my understanding when I sync the songs to my phone they should be available offline which didn’t seam to be the case because when I turned on airplane mode and tried playing them nothing happened (although all of the songs had the little phone icon next to them). Also it is not exactly clear what you have to do to actually sync the songs. First you have to say “Sync to Mobile” in e.g. the web app. But then in the Windows Phone app you have to actually trigger the sync manually. I’m not sure about this though, maybe you can just wait as well. It isn’t very clear.

So in the end I am not convinced this is worth paying 10 USD a month (including the offline capability, 5 USD without). Or maybe even 10 EUR (?), I didn’t find any information about prices in euro.

At least the song availability has to get better, with the other things I guess I could arrange. Rdio, are you hearing me?