The best music streaming service (?)

February 13, 2014

Dare I say it: have Shawn Blanc and crew over at The Sweet Setup gotten it wrong this time? Bear in mind, these are opinions, and no matter how hard anyone tries to boil something like this down into a “best” denomination, opinions will dominate.

So, all in good fun. That being said, Rdio, to me, is most definitely not the best music streaming service. That medal goes to Spotify, which I fell in love with immediately upon using and have permanently switched to a paid subscription for as long as I foreseeably can.

I say “for as long as I foreseeably can” because of a key truth in the music industry at the moment: everything’s hemorrhaging money, going under, and no one knows what to do about it. The author of this article Tyler Hayes even addresses this in his recommendation for Rdio:

The only downside? Because it’s the underdog, there’s no telling how long it will be around. Hopefully a long time, but if the competition starts to condense, it could possibly be one of the first to go or merge with another company.

This is a legitimate statement, and it concerns me that, despite this admitted truth, the team still decided on Rdio. I get it, it’s designy. It’s pretty. (Heck, I’ll be the first to admit that Spotify is severely lacking in tasteful design.) I tried switching to it from Spotify long ago and was immediately put off. The web interface was laggy, the iPhone app was confusing. Maybe I should’ve given it more time. I don’t know.

But I do know that Vdio failed. We’ve seen recent massive layoffs to alleviate money problems. We saw the CEO jump ship last year.

And yeah, this might be a low blow to Shawn and crew, but we just saw the awesome collaborative writing service Editorially announce its shutting down today. Further proof that, despite good intentions, cool features, and quality design, sometimes things don’t stick around for long because they can’t get their business model figured out.

I’m not trying to get on board with something that I don’t trust to stick around.