18 May 2013

Twitter Music, Spotify and Rdio compared

Twitter Music

Twitter Music launched recently and uses you and your followers’ activity to help you discover new music. It also features an “Emerging” chart of music mentioned by influential Twitter users, and a “Popular” chart of the most trending artists – so expect a lot of One Direction here. If your followers are using the service at the same time, you can see what they are listening too as well.
The most popular Twitter accounts belong to musicians (at the moment the top three are Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry) and the hope is that fans will spread the love for their favourite music as they can tweet about new releases or follow artists directly from the app.
You can stream songs if you have an existing Spotify Premium or Rdio account (see below); otherwise you’re stuck with 30-second previews with the option to buy songs through iTunes, so it’s unclear how much of an impact Twitter Music will have when full tracks are out there on YouTube for free. But it’s still early days and the offering will no doubt grow in the same way as Facebook’s myriad features.
Cost: Free previews. Requires Spotify Premium or Rdio subscription for full tracks, or purchase via iTunes.
Mobile apps: Only iOS for now.


The first music streaming program to have a big impact and still the most established. There are still some gaps in the catalogue, notably some major ‘legacy’ artists including the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Metallica, but Spotify is fairly comprehensive for new releases.For maximum convenience, Spotify integrates its own catalogue with any music already on your computer or phone. Users can subscribe to playlists by others (including your very own HI! Magazine) and create collaborative playlists. Any song can be used to create a radio ‘station’ of similar music.
The Free option now allowed unlimited playback of each song as the previous restriction of five plays per track has been lifted. There are still annoying adverts every few songs though, and so the £5 monthly upgrade to the Unlimited option is well worth it.
Cost: Free with adverts and play limits. £4.99/month for Unlimited (no ads or limits). £9.99/month for Premium (mobile and offline listening).
Mobile apps: iOS, Android, BlackBerry.


A graduate of the Flickr/Tumblr school of missing vowels, Rdio is a growing rival to Spotify. Usefully, it runs within a web browser whereas Spotify requires you to download an application, and like Spotify, it integrates with Facebook and Twitter so you can show off your amazing music taste to your friends. However, Rdio can’t play your local files.
Its attractive interface has won praise from devotees, although Spotify’s recent redesign means there’s now not a huge difference between the two; for example, both feature large tiles to make album artwork clearer.
Rdio’s library is comprehensive and even includes some artists who you won’t hear on Spotify; conversely, some albums available in the US aren’t on the UK version of Rdio due to licensing issues. Rdio users can review music and your reviews are collated on a personal ‘homepage’ for your friends to read and vice versa.
Cost: Free trial with a limited amount of music per month. £4.99/month for web version. £9.99/month for web and mobile.
Mobile apps: iOS , Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

Originally published at HI! Magazine.