I’ve been a happy Spotify user since Memorial Day weekend 2012 when I discovered that a friend had signed up for the premium service. They were offering a 30 day trial, so I decided to try it out. It was kind of amazing. And it got better when I had to migrate over to a new MacBook Air. The billboard playlists, collaborative playlists, Last.fm integration — all super awesome, not to mention the massive music collection I now had access to.

I also had an Rdio account. Just the free one, but I had an account. I noticed Daniel Bachhuber followed me, which made me realize that there were actually a bunch of people I knew using Rdio. So I followed a couple people.

Here’s the thing — I didn’t really understand this when Daniel first asked why I switched, but having Spotify so locked into Facebook is kind of a deal breaker for me. I had just come to expect that the “People” tab in Spotify was useless. I didn’t really care about what most of those people were listening to and there’s no way to do anything about that. Not only that, the only way to follow someone on Spotify is to friend them up on Facebook. It’s kind of unfortunate because without looking at my notes, I feel like Spotify is the better service. The reality is that they both do almost exactly the same thing in every way with a bunch of tiny differences. So I’ll share the differences that I found between the two. There’s no way this is a complete list, but it’s the stuff I found right away, so probably most of the stuff that’s important to me — for what that’s worth. This is directly from my notes, so the order I noticed these in might be interesting.

Spotify

  • Billboard playlists, but I found a pretty good Billboard Country playlist on Rdio as well. The one on Spotify is actually maintained by Billboard, which is cool.
  • Starred playlist. The work around for this in Rdio is to create a playlist called “Starred” and add songs to it. The nice thing about the Spotify starred playlist is the extra UI — you can see which songs are starred and which aren’t immediately and it’s one action instead of three to add something to that playlist.
  • Spotify Play Button – It looks way better than the Rdio embedable widget and works as a remote for the app.
  • Apps. I already touched on this a bit with the Billboard playlists, but Spotify has apps and some of them are really pretty awesome.
  • Filter. ⌘F lets you filter a playlist to find the song you’re looking for. Blows my mind a bit that Rdio doesn’t have this.
  • Local collection. Neither of them have every song I want to listen to. The Beatles are nowhere to be found. On Spotify I can just use the Beatles music that I already have in iTunes and play it in Spotify. It even syncs to Spotify on my iPhone.
  • Playlist folders
  • Boxee app. With airplay, I probably wouldn’t use the Boxee app as much anyway, but it’s kind of cool that it exists.
  • Rdio mini player. I don’t find it super useful and they completely hijack the maximize button to take you to the mini player. Even holding option while you click the maximize button doesn’t make it work like it’s supposed to.

Rdio

  • Collaborative playlists. So, they both have collaborative playlists, but Rdio does them better — I think. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to limit who can collaborate on a playlist with you on Spotify. On Rdio, you get an extra option betwen ‘Just Me’ and ‘Everyone’ — ‘Only people that I follow’.
  • Play history. Here’s a simple one that I can’t find anywhere in Spotify. Rdio has it though!
  • Web app! You can log into Rdio from anywhere with an internet connection and play music. Also, feels like a web app. You get used to it fast, but it’s blatantly obvious that the desktop app is just a Web View of the the Rdio website, which it turns out is better than no native app at all.
  • Family plan. If you need that sort of thing, Rdio offers discounts for people with multiple accounts.
  • Sign in to Last.fm once. For reasons I don’t understand, you have to sign into Last.fm every time you install a Spotify app. It doesn’t work at all on the Spoify Boxee app
  • “Find a song to add to this playlist”. There’s a box at the top of every Rdio playlist to search for songs and add them directly to the playlist.

Conclusion

Spotify is the better music player. If you don’t care about social, that’s the place to start. Unfortunately it’s completely off limits for people without Facebook accounts. It would be nice if there was a way to hide the “People” menu, which is only there to make you think Spotify is social. Spotify’s real social strategy is to just let Facebook handle it.