Rdio / Spotify iOS Gross

Worship The Glitch notes that Spotify is on the iOS top free apps while Rdio is on the top grossing apps in the music category.

You can’t use Spotify or Rdio on mobile without paying.

This suggests that iOs users download Spotify, but actually use Rdio. 

Right?

No. Rdio allows in-app purchases for subscriptions. Spotify doesn’t have in-app purchases for subscriptions. The result is that Rdio grosses more for the App Store than Spotify does.

Rhapsody Offers Sage Advice To Rival Upstarts

Rhapsody’s Jon Maples on how to make streaming services stand-out…or rather, what might not be workng. For example, Paramore’s exclusivity with Rdio:

What’s questionable is what Rdio will really get out of it…For the record, Rhapsody would have loved to offer the record. But we’re not sure if exclusives really do help either the service or the band. Last month we had 30,000 fans play the band in our service. All who pay $10 a month to listen to all music they care to. Which they can do today since Rdio’s exclusive is over.

This is ultimately why I dislike streaming services as my only source of music. Streaming music collections feel as though they’re determined by business deals, not by what I actually like and enjoy.

Music Like Water (Coming Out Of A Fire Hose)

When I buy an album, I’ll make an effort to enjoy it for the sake of my investment, even if I don’t immediately like it. I spent money on it, it’s taking up space on my hard drive and/or shelf, and I want that to count for something. But subscribing to Rdio is a different kind of investment. Rather than investing in one album, I’ve invested in all the albums, which is the same as investing in none of them. If something doesn’t grab me right away, I don’t have an incentive to return to it, which limits my repeat exposure to only the music with the most superficial rewards. And even that stuff is quickly overcome by the newer and shinier stuff constantly spraying from Rdio’s fire hose.

More on all-you-can-eat music

More on the all-you-can-eat music subscription business model.

Robin Davey:

Most people only buy 1.5 albums a year because that is all they want. They don’t need unlimited access to everything. They like the two CDs they play over and over in the car. Or they just like listening to the singles. Albums are dead and have been for a long while. Spotify promises all the tracks from all the artists. People respond by just wanting that one new track by Katy Perry.

Reminds me of my brother who had a Rhapsody subscription but only listened to Bob Marley.

Spotify is my discovery platform. I listen to new stuff on Spotify and if I like it I buy it on iTunes. I buy less music because of Spotify. I have their free account. They never see a dime from me.

Besides no-risk discovery, Spotify adds nothing to music listening. Social features? Music isn’t better with friends. None of my friends like the music I like and they I don’t like the same music they do. We’re music snobs living in our own bubbles. Spotify has nothing to offer here.1

So do the math. If you’re spending less than $120 a year on recorded music you’d be better off just buying it from a digital retailer than you would be subscribing to a service and hoping the music you love doesn’t get pulled because of licensing.


  1. However, I think there is value in a follower model like Rdio has. I’m able to find people with similar tastes and see what they like. But this isn’t really any different than following them on Twitter or reading their blog and seeing their recommendations there. It’s just a little simpler. 

The Slow Death of MP3 Blogging

I used to follow a lot of those kinds of blogs that would post music recommendations to Megaupload or whatever site, but Spotify and Rdio put a stop to that.

The main problem with social music is that it’s mostly just scrobbling. Nobody takes the time, at least from what I’ve seen, to write a paragraph or so about the music they like. All we get is a stream of scrobbles.

That’s actually why I like things like Ping, This Is My Jam, and Rdio posts compared with just scrobbles to last.fm and Facebook music. When someone posts about music on these services it’s usually mindful, not just a scrobble. They picked one thing out of hundred or so things they might have listened to recently. They said “Hey, you—don’t miss this.”

What we’re missing is an independent platform which would make it easy to follow people who recommend music and add it to your Rdio, Spotify, or whatever service you’re using. Last.fm could be that. They should steal borrow the idea of the Facebook wall and Rdio dashboard.

Rdio Solved The Wrong Problem

Rdio says Spotify is boring, but it’s “boring” to serve a purpose: quickly finding what you want to listen to.

I’m giving the new Rdio a month, but so far I don’t think they’ve solved this problem. They’ve made it prettier, which is nice, but I don’t stare at my music app. I play what I want, hide the app, and come back later.

Since Rdio is still a web-based app things still feel slow. You wait for songs to load in Spotify too, but in Rdio you also wait for the interface to load.

If you don’t think the web-based thing is a problem try deleting more than one track from a playlist. Or see if you build the habit of adding to a playlist and checking the playlist to see if the track was actually added, like I did after somehow adding the same track to a playlist 3 times even though I didn’t even take action on that track.

That’s the real problem to solve.

Still relevant

Still browser based.

Why can’t I right click anything? This would be a great spot to add to a playlist.

Still slow.

Loading

Still relevant.

I’ll never understand how this app gets a pass, especially from people who write stuff about Apple’s tough design decisions and all that other yadda yadda you can read elsewhere.

I know we’re in the era of music subscriptions, but I’d rather pay for new music and have it in iTunes then have all the music in the world but have to go through the loading screens and frustrations of a web-based application.

There’s nothing wrong with the iTunes Layout

The new Rdio.1

Look at this screenshot and it’s pretty easy to visualize what the next iteration of iTunes Ping could look like.


  1. That’s only available to Rdio subscribers right now. If you have a free account you’ll need to wait. They obviously want to sell some subscriptions just by making people curious. 

Windowing

Spotify exec Ken Parks with Forbes about windowing, when recording artists hold their releases from Spotify.

My initial take is that it’s a very bad idea.

Because it puts my service at a disadvantage.

From a user standpoint, it’s a pretty hostile proposition.

Coldplay can choose to not make their record available on Spotify and it’s considered hostile. Man, we’re fucking spoiled.

The notion that you would want to withhold records from people who are paying 120 pounds or euros or dollars a year is just really mind-boggling.

120 pounds or euros to who?

There’s certainly no data whatsoever to suggest that this increases unit sales.

Maybe that data doesn’t exist because a formal study hasn’t been done.

…our indicators point out that if you want to increase sales, you ought to be increasing access to your music.

What indicators are those? Also, define “sales.” Are we talking streams? iTunes downloads? CD purchases?

The very same bands who are withholding from streaming services are often available for free to users on YouTube, which doesn’t monetize nearly as well as Spotify.

Why settle for thousandths of a penny per stream when you can get hundredths of a penny per stream?

If you think that promoting your record via streaming is a good thing for sales on YouTube, there is no reason as all to withhold it on Spotify.

I can think of one, and it’s pretty similar to what lots of authors do by releasing Creative Commons-licensed works as a free-to-download PDF. They claimed that doing so increased sales of the book version. How? My guess, because nobody wants to read an entire fucking book on their laptop.

It’s ridiculous to think that an 18-year-old kid who is denied access to listening on Spotify is going to run to iTunes and buy it. That’s not the way it works. They’re going to go to the torrent sites.

Depends. Again, not to sound like a dick, but a lot of 18-year olds don’t know how torrents work, and a lot of those people are Adele and Taylor Swift fans.

We think it’s very possible she would’ve sold more. Again, there’s no data to support the proposition that windowing on Spotify resulted in increased sales.

There’s no data to support increased sales from windowing nor is their data to support that Adele would have sold more if she had her album on Spotify. That’s why it’s “very possible”, but nobody knows.

Spotify has great integration with the biggest social network in the world.

We’re aware. Unfortunately it’s now mandatory. Is that what you meant when you were talking about user hostile propositions?

If you are not plugged into that, you are really missing out on what artists have always known, which is that word-of-mouth and buzz really sells records and concert tickets.

All my high school friends listen to is Dave Matthews Band and Phish and those bands need all the help they can get.

On Spotify, someone will see a track a friend shared on Facebook, they’ll click on it, and then instantly be listening to that record on Spotify.

Does anybody actually click that stuff? Serious question.

Another serious question, how many of these people actively share something? I don’t mean they listened to something and it showed up in their Timeline. I mean they took time to write a paragraph or two about what they liked about it and make a case for why I should take 40 minutes to listen to it.

Because I never see that shit. If I did I might click those buttons.


I like Spotify, but I don’t have a paid account. I’d rather spend $120 a year on things that I’ll be able to keep. Access trumps ownership, but access AND ownership is much better.

Rdio Making Moves

Todd Berman, VP of Engineering at Rdio, answers a question on Quora about why Rdio uses Flash storage.

We store some data client side (like what songs are in your collection, etc), and for some people with large collections, that goes over the default 100KB local flash storage limit.

However, we are making some changes on our end that should make this issue moot.

Also this tweet from Berman:

Brand new Rdio experience? I’d love to see what they’ve come up with.