1. @Rdio is Apple’s Ping done right

    Been playing around with Rdio for about a week now and am totally enjoying the service. Figured I’d write up a blog post with a few of my thoughts and ideas for the service.

    I was turned onto the service by Oscar Godson, who has been using the service to stream his favorite music to his computer and iPod while at work. I’ve been eagerly looking for a subscription based music streaming service, and since Apple seems no-where close to creating that type of service, I’ve moved on to try other music sources … and I’m happy with that decision.

    From the moment I started trying out Rdio I was struck with the notion that it acts exactly like Apple’s Ping should… There is a perfect blend of LastFM for the data, social integration for sharing your music and seeing what other people are doing, and seamlessly integrated into all of it, is the core service and the ability to purchase music.

    iTunes has become massive bloatware on my computer. It’s grown larger and larger and slower and slower with each update. After trying Rdio, it will be difficult for me to go back to iTunes unless they embrace a better system like what Rdio has created.

    Rdio & Desktop Integration

    Those of you that follow me on Twitter know my aversion (downright hate) to Adobe Air based software. It’s usually sloppy and poorly designed. However, the Rdio software has proven to be quite well designed and unobtrusive to my desktop.

    By way of suggestion, I think (I hope they are working on this) they should expand the functionality on their desktop player. A person should be able to add music or artists that they are listening to into a playlist. See the player to the right… I’ve mocked up one of their action buttons into the UI.

    It would also be great if you could switch playlists or to different collections from within the app as well.

    Mobile Syncing

    Another great reason I love Rdio is the mobile syncing. As you grow playlists and your collection, you can quickly click “Sync to Mobile” to send it to your mobile device.

    There is no need to hook up to iTunes, No need to dock your phone, just sync and go.

    Gripes

    My gripes about Rdio are fairly limited at this time. However, there are a few issues I thought I’d outline.

    • Desktop App Lacks Functionality – I covered this in the section above fairly well. I don’t want to turn their desktop app into iTunes, however there is some simple functionality that could be added so users don’t have to launch the website all the time.
    • OSX Ignored Play Controls – I doubt this is anything that Rdio has control over, but the fact that when I hit the “play” or “next” keys on my keyboard, iTunes launches. It would be awesome if they had preference settings that would let you remap these keyboard shortcuts to their app.
    • Duplication Errors – When adding a track to a playlist, you can end up adding it multiple times because the site doesn’t check to see if that song or album has already been added, it just adds it again. Neat freaks like me will find this annoying.
    • Where is the like button? – One thing I’d love to see is the ability to “like” songs so that new songs, either suggested via LastFM and your daily habits are suggested to you by Rdio in digest form. It would make exploring so dead simple!

    Rdio’s future

    I would not be surprised if Rdio is acquired by Apple or another similar organization in the future. Rdio seems to have been built from the ground up to fill a gap in the music industry and the effort really does show. They stream music, and create a community that has so much potential that it is hard to not take notice.

    If there is one thing that Apple has a track record of doing is of buying people and companies that do something well and make it their own. If the licensing issue is a huge road block for iTunes, then having Rdio handle their subscription services and the purchasing of music going through iTunes, could fill a great hole in the fight against Amazon and Microsoft’s Zune community.

    What are your thoughts? Do you see Rdio as a leader in music streaming services?