Since Rdio closed down, I’ve tried Spotify, Tidal and Google Music. This has been my experience thus far.
The spotify app was kind of confusing. I just didn’t like the navigation and I was also annoyed that I had to rebuild my library. There were tools to move playlists across platforms but most of my Rdio collection was just a concept “favourites”. Just a pointer to either an artist, album or song. Unless you built tons of playlists and that’s how you navigate your music collection, there wasn’t a clean way to get everything over. So during this time, I downloaded Tidal and found I kept going to that over Spotify because of it’s better UI.
Tidal’s app was really great. I liked it a lot because it was intuitive. My favourite feature was the Queue. Not sure if it’s actually called a Queue but it was simply a record of songs you’ve played recently and you can add songs on the top of the queue to be played next. It was like browser history but for songs. It was a really convenient way to move between music which none of the other music streaming sevices have. Google Music has something similar but it gets flushed out more frequently and is a little more hidden.
Another interesting feature were those exclusive Tidal music videos. I really enjoyed some of them but apparently not enough to recall which videos. I think I watched Nicki Minaj and Beyonce’s Feeling Myself once and Santigold’s video for Chasing Shadows. Oh and of course, Beyonce’s Lemonade was really great too! I had a showing at work with some colleauges which was a lot of fun.
Also, when I got charged for Tidal, the credit card statement came up as “Malmo”. I was really confused and googled the fuck out of it. All I could find that it was some city in Sweden. When I called the credit card company, they said it was an art supply store. Wtf? So I cancelled the transaction. I later realized that Malmo was the city where Aspiro is based out of which Jay Z bought to create Tidal. That was kind of annoying - why did they choose this company’s city as a name for their credit card transactions. Weird.
My favourite feature of Rdio was their new releases notifications. What turned me off Tidal was it kept pushing notifications for artists that I didn’t even listen to but did not push notifications for artists I was already listening to (via favourites). I really felt that Tidal wasn’t trying to be a music streaming service for everyone, but a platform to push the artist they wanted to push. For example, Rihanna, as much as I like her music, got so much coverage on their web app pushing down all the other artists on the platform. So I switched over to Google Music’s 3 month free trial.
Google Music was kind of the same as the rest, by now I don’t really have the energy to compare but overall I know I’m not enjoying these services as much as I enjoyed Rdio.
My favourite feature of Rdio was their new release notifications. If you like an artist’s song, album or the artist itself, it is added to a list. Any time an artist on this list released a new song or album, it would show up on the notifications feed. This notification feed was like my home page. I was on it every day and was always looking forward to new releases which happened every week or so. I thought it was fascinating that an album would be released and instantly all fans (or people who favourited their music) was informed of the new release. It was a new world way of “dropping” an album without marketing. And the notification wasn’t intrusive at all. It was just a blue dot about 20px in diameter with a number in it. If you didn’t care, you could totally navigate and use the services without ever jumping onto the notifications page. If any of the above streaming services can replicate this notification feed, I will switch.
I also liked the new releases page that was sorted by timestamp. I hate how Tidal’s new releases page was curated - Rihanna was on there for months! I’m sorry, your album is not new after a week. Tons of artists are releases albums and songs every week and you will get flushed out. Anyways, I was on Rdio’s new releases page a lot.
Lastly, if you’re on an artist’s page and they are touring near you, they have a one liner indicating as such. I know there are lots of services that tell you when bands you like are playing but it requires importing and customization and it’s via email or an app. I really like Rdio’s simplistic way and maybe they could have integrated it with the notifications page.
I made this post because I miss Rdio and would happily pay double to use it again.