Rdio came out ages ago, before Google and Apple got into the music streaming game, and in fact, Rdio even launched before Spotify in the United States. Clearly, being early isn’t enough, as this week the streaming music company filed for bankruptcy and announced that it’s being taken over by Pandora.
I switched over completely to music streaming services last year and I first used Spotify. I was quite impressed by the convenience so I stuck on. I never got to experience the days when the Spotify app was a mess that others are talking about. I switched to Rdio in February and initially I was quite happy. The app looked nice, and got me my music without any problems.
And then that changed. Rdio slowly became a mess, getting worse with each update. Suddenly, playing music over Bluetooth in my car became a huge pain, as did generally navigating the app. Forum posts and communicating with Rdio support was pretty much useless and last week, I jumped ship to Apple Music when the app came out on Android. It’s saying something when the Beta Apple Music app is more stable than the Rdio app had been the last few months.
The service itself was great, but clearly that isn’t enough to survive. While Rdio was ahead of the curve when it first launched, it’s been lagging behind competing services the past couple of years. It also didn’t help that for a long time, Rdio didn’t have a free tier. I was on the free tier of Spotify for about two weeks before using the trial and then switching to the full paid plan. The free tiers are essential in getting people on the service.
It also highlights a problem with the music streaming field. Spotify, the undisputed leader is heavily funded and isn’t actually in profits. Google and Apple are big players and can afford to subsidize their respective streaming options. Tidal is backed, for now, by big name stars. Rdio, in comparison, didn’t have this kind of backing or the sheer number of users necessary to remain profitable.
Rdio is dead for now, though we’ll probably see it reincarnated as a new service under Pandora sometime next year. Perhaps we should look at this as just a reset and not a full stop, a much needed reset considering the mess it had become the last few months.
What do you think about the acquisition of Rdio by Pandora? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.