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Spotify vs the US Competition (like.fm)
93 points by chrischen on July 15, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 104 comments

Spotify's discovery is better than a 4. Since a playlist can be represented by a URL, sites have emerged to share playlists, which is actually awesome, one of those living in the future moments. Even better, these can be dynamic, like a top 40 list, and also curated by everyone.

That said, Spotify could certainly do much more in this area (a lot of their energies have been focused on getting the US launch, it seems).


See spotylist.com, discovery through non-friends playlists beats algorithms as you can understand why songs are grouped together and get a feel for a persons music tastes.

I'm not sure if any "social" type of discovery can beat algorithmic in quality. The added benefit of "social" is the socializing bit, not the discovery bit. Algorithms can always match you up with similar people faster and better.

But thanks for the link I'll re-consider the rating.

I imagine the difference is in how you listen to music. Having been a staunch evangelist for Rdio, I've found that the people that really fall in love with it are usually album listeners. If you prefer to listen in more of a radio type setting, Spotify would probably be better due to the improved playlist functionality.

So I guess it comes down to whether you're trying to discover in the sense of finding new artists, or just finding new music to listen to in the moment.

After testing out Turntable.fm for the past few weeks, I have to almost disagree. And this is coming from someone who worked on Grooveshark Radio for a year, which is almost all algorithmic.

Turntable is fun with friends. But being a listener in a DJd room is no different than listening to a curated playlist, a curated radio station, and probably worse than personalized algorithmic radio in terms of efficacy of discovery.

You'll discover music on Turntable, but for the same amount of time spent on an algorithmic radio station you'll probably discover more.

You might "discover" more in the sense that you'll get far more recommendations of songs you've never heard of, but those recommendations might not be relevant to you. Why? Because your mood changes from song to song and algorithms will never capture human emotion quite like, well, humans.

When I'm in a well-DJ'ed Turntable room, the "radio" feels so much more natural. Songs flow. People are constantly editing their queues to best the song before it and I find myself rarely having to vote on a song. Its already better than Pandora, IMO. It also beats BMAT which has amazing algorithmic recommendations (based on waveform analysis and musical feature decomposition).

The only issue I see right now is that if your tastes are outside of Electronica and Indie, theres not much else for you at the moment.

The radio feature, incidentally, was disabled (temporarily ?) for the US launch. It's not been removed from the client internationally.

These discovery services are not integrated into Spotify so I don't really consider them Spotify discovery features. Is a site that lists Spotify playlists really different from a site that just lists playlists? Most of these sites you can play the music. If I were to go to a website to do discovery, there are plenty of other options too like the Hype Machine and it does not require Spotify.

Without arguing definitions, I'd say the net effect is that discovery is good for advanced users (who will use those third parties) and not for basic users. Integrating this kind of thing into the actual service would be a good move.

I use and like Grooveshark but it's radio recommendations are pretty bad and people who have used both say Spotify's is better. I would take these scores with a grain of salt. As much as I like Grooveshark I wouldn't give it a 9 overall.

Grooveshark's radio is not the best, but it's probably better than Spotify's Radio, especially in terms of customizability.

Interesting. Are you saying that Spotify's radio is more like actual radio? Where you just listen and what's on is on?

If so then Grooveshark definitely deserves a higher rating than Spotify for radio. Recommendations can be improved but not being able to skip a track is a big design flaw (for me, I can see how some want a set-it-and-forget-it radio).

You can skip tracks in Spotify's radio, but you only get fixed stations by genre.

After two days with a free account, on a Mac, I noticed this:

- If you mute your speakers via OS X while an advertisement is playing, it pauses the ad until you unmute your speakers.

- If you turn down your speaker volume via OS X too much while an advertisement is playing, the same behavior occurs until you turn the volume back up. This appears to be relative to the volume you were just listening to music at.

Quick fix around this; use headphones. Just take them off to ignore an ad. Or if you have a separate sound system, mute that. Annoying if you have a laptop though. This behavior doesn't occur when music is playing.

Quick fix around this; PAY FOR IT!

That's it FTFY.

Or just use Mutify [ https://code.google.com/p/mutify/ ] for Mac. Works very well. There's Blockify [ http://tribe.nu/Blockify.html ] for Windows, but I haven't tried it.

Free version is quite unlistenable these days though. I'm a spoiled Swede though. I started using the service years ago when it was still based on the Spotify employees pirated music collection (with occasional release group names in the metadata).

If they wanted to be especially clever, when you muted/turned down the volume while a song was playing they would continue to advance the progress bar while not actually streaming the song, which might save them some royalty costs.

When I was using the free version a while back you could mute and then hit play again if you didn't want to listen to the ads. Don't know if that still works.

Does this happen on a PC?

Yes, but I if I remember correctly it does not happen if you run the PC version in wine on Linux.


Out of interest, does Spotify (the free version) for US have the 5 plays limit on each song? Having limited numbers of hours I can deal with, but after they introduced limited plays on Spotify, I practically never used it again after my premium account ran out.

The 5 plays doesn't appear to renew at the end of the month like the number of hours, and it just means that my playlists have more and more holes in them (as often has happened when artists suddenly change their minds over streaming). Spotify tried to explain that most of their users only use their service to discover new music – maybe I'm too hipster for them, but the new and interesting music I want to listen to isn't generally in their catalogue, and last.fm's discovery features are much better.

When they provided everyone free access for unlimited plays (with ads, granted), most of my friends used it and updated their playlists — which I would subscribe to and we'd drop music on to each other's user icons and share interesting music. Now, even if I were to re-upgrade to premium (which I probably won't, especially when in the UK we appear to be getting a raw deal in cost), it's like a ghost town.

They don't seem to mention it anywhere on the U.S. site. It appears in Europe that they have a 5-plays-per-track limit for free accounts, but not paid accounts.

It's mentioned on their terms and conditions page in the first paragraph: http://www.spotify.com/us/legal/end-user-agreement/

The 5 play limit doesn't start until after six months. So all new US users have unlimited plays.

10 hour per month limit still means you get about 20 minutes of free listening per day.

Where is Last.FM on this list? It's actually the best (in my opinion) service out there. Their "discovery" feature is the best, and simplest to use - just choose "Play artist/song/tag XXX radio", and it will play related songs for you. Their catalog seems immense, and I listen to some of the most obscure stuff out there (/hipster joke). And it's completely free.. the only thing it doesn't do is play music "on demand", but nobody else got that right either (for free).

"This article compares services that provide access to interactive, on-demand, and complete music playback, whether paid or free. So services like Pandora, Last.fm's radio, iTunes music store, etc, are not considered because they technically do not satisfy the criteria."

While I agree that last.fm is pretty great, there's a reason it was not included in this list.

> And it's completely free

Am I missing something here? I've got 30 plays on my trial account and after that it asks me to pay for subscription.

You're missing living in (or proxying to) the UK, US or Germany, where it's still free.


I have been a huge Rdio fan for awhile and after playing with Spotify I have come to the conclusion that Spotify is great if you don't want to pay, if you want to pay then Rdio is much better because of the method in which it presents new music to you. I get the feeling in 6 months the front page of Spotify will be new albums which compete for attention space on your monitor by how much money is put behind them - pushing them into your view, where as Rdio (because it is paid for) will continue to be a screen full of albums liked by your friends or people you follow. I much prefer the later, however the former isn't a bad option if you don't want to pay for anything.

I signed up for Spotify and was pretty disappointed. I have years and years of Data in iTunes, and the only thing Spotify does is pull out tracks. It won't even sync my SmartPlaylists. So it's kind of like starting over. Not something I'm willing to do.

I'm a Spotify dev. What sort of data would you find most useful to have extracted from iTunes?

The reason we don't do the smart playlists is that we just take a snapshot (the lists aren't kept in sync) and the very nature of smart playlists is that they are dynamic.

Even a snapshot of smart and dumb playlists would be better than nothing. The use case is, users who want to migrate to Spotify from whatever they've been using for years, intend to copy over their playlists to Spotify, and permanently switch to Spotify as their main playlist organizer/generator. But having to recreate all their playlists by hand in Spotify is enough to stymie even the most enthusiastic US/NA Spotify fan.

Same problem on the Android app I just discovered yesterday, all my local playlists are made with a third party app called Playlist Builder, and both PowerAMP and Google Music can use them, but apparently not Spotify. I only have Premium, but it seems Premium is intended to enable local music and playlists just not sharing and streaming...

You can drag a playlist from iTunes and drop it on the "New Playlist" button in the left sidebar in Spotify. I don't know if it works with Genius lists, but it works with "Recently Played" and other dynamic lists.

What format is Playlist Builder using, m3u perhaps?

.m3u8, all stored in what appears to be /Playlists, though my phone isn't rooted so I'm not sure if that's the highest level of the directory structure.

Well, I find rating songs very important to my own music discovery. I have around 6500 songs in my collection, about half of it rated, and all of it meticulously genred. Making playlists and picking something to listen to is really easy, as is downloading something new and incorporating it into my playlists.

Find a new reggae artist, rate his songs, and boom, next time I'm listening to good reggae, his songs pop up (but just the good ones).

Spotify makes all of my ratings and all my playlists useless. And it is therefore not very useful to me :/

I see how rating helps with making playlists from your own library of already rated tracks, but could you explain how it helps with discovery of new artists?

Can we subtract 1-2 points from Grooveshark for their questionable legal tactics?

Awesome comparison, Chris. This should be the go to page used to respond to any question about these services.

How are our (I'm a grooveshark employee) legal tactics questionable? We sign deals with new labels all the time and our #1 company-wide goal is to help an artist make over $1M through our service. Here is a list of all our label agreements: http://www.grooveshark.com/labelslist. I don't think its updated though since we have a deal with EMI and I can't find it on the list. Yes, a few of the other majors are missing, but that is always an on-going conversation. We also fully comply with the DMCA in the same way YouTube and all other UGC sites work. Case in point: try searching for Beatles.

Grooveshark has been playing a lot of copyrighted material without licenses for a very long time. It takes it down; the content reappears. I understand that you're somewhat protected by DMCA, but the entire business was built on the backs of mostly mainstream content. It wasn't until you already had a big audience that you started securing the majority of your most important licenses, and plenty of the music there is still not properly licensed. EMI is a perfect example. Only recently did you get a license from them, and yet their artists have been playing on Grooveshark for ages.

If you really did a good job of making sure the music that was uploaded wasn't copyrighted, you wouldn't have a business because nobody would be looking for that music. The period between illegal mainstream content going up, and that content coming down, is just long enough for Grooveshark to have a competitive cost advantage over companies who properly license their material from day one.

If the tactics aren't at least "questionable", then why has Universal declared "legal jihad" on Grooveshark?

P.S. My band's music is on your site. I didn't put it there and neither did anybody else with proper authority to do so.

Its not a black or white issue. Licensing is incredibly complex with ownership sometimes changing between territories, products, people and having the technology in place to enforce specific terms so all parties are happy. I'm not completely knowledgeable about the subject so I won't comment on that further, but its not something we turn a blind eye to. Our content ID system is getting better and better. Ultimately its a question of resources, and when you're a cash-starved startup, you're spread super thin.

My point is that we genuinely do our best to help artists. We're good people. If you want your band's presence taken down, you're entitled to have that done for you. You can also leave your music up so millions of users can discover it and find out more about who you are. We have tens of thousands of individual artists managing their own music and we get tons of fan mail from artists who say that our platform has not only decreased piracy but has actually encouraged fans to buy more of their music and see their shows.


I'm not going to lie, we're competitors, and I have plenty of people tell me they're happy with Grooveshark, and that you provide a lot of value. I also hear the other side, and I hope that Grooveshark gets what it deserves from Universal.

The fact still remains that Grooveshark as it is wouldn't exist if not for the many years it's had to benefit from free use of mainstream content. That's not what DMCA was created for. It was created to protect people who mostly have UGC and occasionally have their terms violated. If Grooveshark was one of those companies, they would look more like Unsigned.com right now.

The music industry's legal system is complex. We all know that. Other companies are navigating that complexity in much more difficult ways, being much more honest to the spirit of the law. Grooveshark takes advantage of the laws and operates a service that has only one foot in legality. Of course it would be easy to build a business that way and then get the praises of those companies you forge relationships with _after_ your audience and platform is already valuable. But there is more to be said for a company that takes the hard road and does the same. I think Pandora has had a miserable time of it, but at least they did it right.

Whichever way you look at it, building a business in the music space is difficult. We're all probably competing with piracy more so than each other. There is no good road. You make it sound like we've had it easy, which is not the case. Every employee has at some time gone without pay for an extended period of time. Mine was 10 months. That's the sort of dedication it takes to bring a product from a thousand users to millions when you're underfunded. And our relationships didn't form suddenly when we had millions of users. They were the result of years of work in the trenches when our userbase was small- going to concerts, promoting artists, branding our site...basically everything we could do to get their songs heard.

I think you're straying a little from the topic. Yes, company building is hard. No, that does not make it okay that Grooveshark built it's business by streaming a lot of mainstream music that it didn't, and in many cases still doesn't, have licenses for.

I didn't say you've had it easy. I said you built your company on the backs of artists' content without paying them. So, each employee went a few months without pay. Most of the artists playing on Grooveshark went (and are still going) much longer.

> "then why has Universal declared "legal jihad" on Grooveshark?"

This isn't to excuse Grooveshark (honestly, not a user, so I have no horse in this race), but attracting the ire of the RIAA/MPAA in and of itself doesn't mean much except that you've gotten some big dogs pissed off at you.

That's true. But Grooveshark has been playing Universal artists for years, millions of times over, without licenses. They're not innocent. They claim DMCA, but they know that they have a ton of copyrighted material on their platform. Say what you will about the RIAA, it doesn't make all of their enemies good people.

Hi, I'm a longtime grooveshark fan and user but I've also had similar questions to the grandparent. You let users upload music arbitrarily. You also add that music to your index and use it globally on the site (or I presume so, since some of your music has irregular tags or tags that say things like "radio rip"). How is this legal? I don't think you're allowed to upload music and keep it there as long as you don't get a complaint about it. That's basically the same thing as having an ftp full of mp3s. You can't even claim that you're not hosting the content. Maybe what you're doing is more similar to what youtube is doing.

It's legal because the person uploading it agrees to their terms and says it's not copyrighted, or that they have the right to upload it. In most cases, these people do not. Grooveshark relies on DMCA and says that they prohibit this behavior but they know full well that tons of the content being uploaded is copyrighted.

The simple fact is, they should know what content they have licenses for, and what content they don't. Maintaining a list of the top 1,000,000 bands in the world and not letting anybody upload tracks with metadata that included those bands and song names in it would not be that difficult. The data is there, because otherwise users could not search for those band names and find what they're looking for.

Simply put, if Grooveshark did everything they could to fight copyrighted material being added to their site, they wouldn't have a business. Maybe now that they have some licenses and an audience they could survive, but they would have never gotten to where they were without significant illegal content being uploaded and accessed by their users.

> Maintaining a list of the top 1,000,000 bands in the world and not letting anybody upload tracks with metadata that included those bands and song names in it would not be that difficult.

I addressed this in my other comment, but as it turns out, this aspect of the problem is incredibly difficult. Metadata can be wrong and we can't always depend on it. So we use waveform analysis. But thats difficult too due to the indexing and storage requirements and the accuracy of the algorithm performing the search. Also this list is not finite. It changes constantly and parties are always bickering over rights to content and that takes time to sort out. We actually have a team of people who handle takedown requests, and we have another team of people who put in the necessary restrictions to keep content from getting played or uploaded.

The simple fact is, without mainstream content, Grooveshark would be a joke. Putting in a requirement - Do not play songs with the word Primus in the metadata - would probably "accidentally" keep out some cover bands' songs that are legally uploaded, but it would do a very good job of keeping out most Primus music. Even if that music showed up, but without the metadata, nobody would be finding it in searches, which also helps eliminate the use of that illegal content. What you do, frankly, is close to the legal minimum because the business wouldn't exist if you did a better job at it.

Within 5 minutes I can go find music on Grooveshark that is there illegally. It ought to be pretty easy for you to do the same queries and prevent that from happening. Would you prevent legal music? Yes. What is more important - that some cover band be allowed to post their music, or that Primus be allowed to retain their rights? Particularly when you consider that nobody is coming to Grooveshark to hear covers of Primus.

I'm not saying that operating legally in the music industry is easy - far from it. But on the spectrum of trying to, unprofitable Pandora is on one side, and Grooveshark is waving hello in the far distance.

If Primus sees their content on our site and they don't want it there, all they have to do is tell us. And we'll do exactly what you say by filtering any mention of the word Primus, take it down promptly and do everything we can to make it never happen again.

I see...so the bands are responsible for knowing about Grooveshark, policing Grooveshark, letting you know, and THEN you'll put preventative measures in place. The point is that those measures should have been in place from the get-go, because anyone in their right mind knows that Primus isn't sitting their uploading their tunes to Grooveshark.

P.S. I apologize for saying "the simple fact is" way too often.

Have you tried to do a fingerprint of files?

Also, what's waveform analysis?

It may not be legal. There is a "red flag" provision in the DMCA which could potentially make Grooveshark liable.

I remember Napster attempting to create a system to block subsequent "sharing" of known copyrighted works.

Yeah, I definitely wouldn't rate Grooveshark 9/10. It's great, and I've happily used it for months, but it's no Spotify. Aside from the legal issues, the sound quality is generally pretty bad, the crowd-sourced music catalogue with incorrect song/artist/album names is maddening, and 9/10 for Mobile seems a high when you have to jailbreak before you can use it on one of the largest phone platforms.

I didn't take points off for having to jailbreak. I reviewed the app for the app, and the app is great. Plus, apparently jailbreaking is easy.

It's true the music player itself is inferior to Spotify, and the quality of search results is not as good. But it's free, I'm fairly certain it has more songs than Spotify, it's accessible from any computer, and it has other features like radio (which from personal experience is slightly better than Spotify's in term of recommendation quality).

seems a high when you have to jailbreak

it's not difficult to jailbreak your phone. go to jailbreakme.com, and you're done.

Why should Grooveshark be penalized for trying to build a company under the law and license content in the process? Do you think that you just create a startup one day and walk into a huge label the next? It does not work that way in this business. To address some of your inaccuracies (are you making this stuff up?):

- Universal is suing specifically for a few bands not covered under the DMCA. We actually do a better job of filtering those bands than Youtube. Source: http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/uploads/fb/32/fb32701d5d705b...

- Licensing for a single artist can be owned by multiple labels for different albums. This licensing also varies based on country as well. To say we can simply check for an artist name in an upload isn't true when you are talking about the breadth of possible content. Plus, if we filter uploaded content inaccurately we could be liable from both sides of the coin (those wanting the content on, and those not wanting it on).

- Grooveshark has licensed EMI's content since Oct 2009. Merlin was licensed on Aug 2010. We are actively trying to get more licensing deals setup. (Also, some past deals have involved paying licensing for past streams as well.)

- The DMCA's safe harbor clause was enacted to help encourage technological innovation. Uploads to Grooveshark are similar to uploads to youtube. If you feel otherwise you are gravely mistaken. Creating and sharing music as an artist should be simple and we believe indie artists are as important as signed artists - in fact, we're trying to work with indie artists to make them money and get them tour gigs.

I wanted to rate them for their features but yea I guess I should mention that Grooveshark could just disappear one day with all your playlists.

Actually, yeah...stability of the company for a service where you have to put a lot of work in to have a good experience might as well be a rating.

I just started playing around with spotify and the one major feature missing is something akin to itunes genius. I wonder if anything like this is in the works?

Not really. In Europe Spotify does have radio features - both genre and artist-based versions. But to be honest, neither option is very good. My music tastes don't seem to fit in well with the genre options you have on Spotify, and the artist-based radio plays that artist way too much, so you don't get a lot of variety. --Hopefully this is something Spotify will try to do better on. Right now you really have to know what you're looking for.

I'm in Canada and was disappointed that we were cut out of the stateside Spotify launch, so I went looking and heard a number of recommendations for Rdio.

Out of 18,384 tracks it matched 3,142. Considering my tastes are pretty mainstream and my files have very clean tags, it's hardly impressive.

With most of these services you're bound to not be able to find a few songs. What's important is whether or not it fails gracefully into letting you manage those missing music files yourself and Spotify, Rhapsody, and Grooveshark are the only ones that let you do that to some extent.

True, but I expected them to have more deals in place. Most artists are missing key tracks, albums, or aren't represented at all. I also don't really think it's a few songs. Knowing my library and how mainstream it is, at least 8,000-10,000 tracks should have been matched. That's my library minus most independents and instrumentals.

A few songs? It matched 17% of his library.

The killer feature in Spotify for me is that it aggregates the music on my HDD and their stuff. I have a library of 14000 songs, so it's nice to have all of this music side by side.

The higher quality MP3s in the premium version is a nice touch too.

Unless the US version of Spotify is drastically different from the European version, discovery on Spotify is excellent in my opinion. The Radio feature does exist (although it's not one of Spotify's strongest features) and when you're on an artist page there is a tab to view related artists. There is even an radio tab on the artist's page which will play music from related artists.

The radio feature is not available in the US.

"The lack of a radio feature for the time being is a factor of licensing agreements with the rights holders but it will eventually be available." http://getsatisfaction.com/spotify/topics/radio_mode_missing...

That's a shame for now, but the fact that related artists are presented very clearly (and you're able to quickly see their most popular songs) doesn't make discovery as bad as the article is claiming. I find myself listening to a lot more different music with Spotify than other discovery services such as Last.fm.

Pretty much every service out there has related artists. But the US version of Spotify has only that.

There is also friend's playlists, which I find very useful to discover stuff.

Amounts to browsing random peoples' music. Compared to MOG's discovery features, MOG's is much better. You might get lucky if a friend just happens to find lots of new music you like though.

You can add Spotify-users to your friends list too, you don't need to be Facebook friends.

To add me, go to spotify:user:parbo or http://open.spotify.com/user/parbo and click the "Add Pär" button.

Spotify should lose a point for having no web based player. Installing the Spotify client on a friend's computer can be kind of intrusive.

All of them should lose a point for having not having an integrated music locker to fill in the holes where they don't have licenses to certain tracks.

You can fill in the holes with Spotify, Grooveshark, and Rhapsody.

Speaking to just Spotify (and Rhapsody if I remember correctly), only in some scenarios. On your local machine it is easy to fill in the holes. On your phone you have to sync everything over wifi, this is slow and limited by your phones memory.

Comparatively these limits don't exist on Amazon Cloud Player where I can have much more music the my phones memory and after syncing it to their servers I don't have to sync it with each device I have.

I was very unimpressed with Spotify when it launched in the US this week. The app (at least on a Mac) seemed very non-native and used a lot of resources when it was inactive. It apparently uses Flash, so that may be it. It can't connect to my speakers, though that's Apple's fault more than Spotify's (AirPlay). I saw some top music lists, but not much else. My iTunes Playlists sort of came over, but not the Smart Playlists which are the only ones I use. Didn't see any recommendations.

tl;dr I closed the app and haven't listened to any music with it.

I strongly encourage you to give it another try. Spotify is not iTunes or Pandora, it has very different strengths. At least here in the UK, it streams insanely quickly, streaming starts immediately and the size of their catalogue is simply incredible. You might still find that you don't like it in the end but I wouldn't give up on it after five minutes, really.

Also, just to clarify a few things: it's not based on Flash. It's written in C++. It uses Ogg Vorbis. The user interface closely resembles iTunes so if you're familiar with that (many people are) Spotify shouldn't be too confusing.

Disagree. Been using Spotify for 1,5 years. It is a native app on OSX, feels native and does not use a lot of resources (have you tried this app called iTunes??). They do use flash for ad's though so maybe that is the problem, I pay for the premium account which does not have advertising. For connecting to my speakers through airport express I use the excellent AirFoil app.

The ads are shown in an embedded browser (Safari on OSX), and they might use flash. The app itself does not use flash in any way.

Is there a reason Slacker is not reviewed?

They are a radio service. This is a review of on-demand services where you can access songs whenever you want and build your own playlists.

Their premium service is on-demand.


Ok thanks for the tip. I'll try to review their premium service too.

"…suffers from one same key issue as Rdio: the inability to manage non-catalogue music makes it incapable of being an exclusive music player."

This is simply not true. I am an exclusive Rdio user and despite the opinions of the author, their management system does not render it useless as an exclusive music player.

There are many songs not in Rdio's catalog and I have to pull up iTunes to play them. I cannot mix and match non-catalog music with Rdio. I did not say it's useless, just that it cannot be my exclusive music player. Furthermore this becomes even more of a hassle on the go as I would have to pull into a different app on the phone to play non-Rdio music. New releases will not show up instantly in Rdio and there's no way to get them into Rdio's interface. MOG suffers from the same issue.

Of course this has been my experience. I reason it's possible for someone to be completely satisfied by Rdio's catalog but for most people there will be missing music.

Spotify "discover" 7/10 IMO, I find new music everyday via Spotify + Facebook integration.

Though discovery should not get high ratings in 2011 as there are so much that could be done using social and Music-DNA to discover music - so giving any of these services more than 8 is just a joke.

If you only use Spotify and whatever it provides to discover music then you will discover music from what Spotify provides. The rating is relative to what the other services provide, and a service like MOG provides a superior discovery experience.

0/10 means you cannot discover any music, which is almost impossible to achieve. 4/10 means yes it's possible to discover music but the features are not very optimized for it or they dont perform as well as other services.

Discovery isn't weighted very heavily in the overall rating since there are plenty of other places to discover music from.

Kept hearing about Spotify this week and after reading this article decided to give it a try...and found like almost everything else involving media, Canada's left out in the cold. Guess I'm sticking with grooveshark for now.

The "social" component of these services are worthless if your friends aren't there. Most of my friends and co-workers are on Rdio, so I plan to stick there for the foreseeable future.

Even if they are you'll find that it's mostly inconsequential towards your day to day music listening.

does anybody know what these apps, such as spotify, are written in, and any hints on resources used? itunes is good at not spiking CPU usage, which means listening to music while running servers, doing dev work etc. is possible, while some fat clients (especially thinking of Adobe AIR here) are just terrible

Spotify is C++ using the Qt4 toolkit. At least on the Linux client (still in "preview"), it also uses DBus to allow external applications to send command signals and receive current song information from the client. I actually wrote a wrapper for Spotify to translate Gnome media key signals to the MPRIS standard that Spotify listens for.

http://noswap.com/projects/spotify-gnome http://github.com/jreese/spotify-gnome

Anecdotal: Spotify on the Mac doesn't seem like a resource hog at all. Never had it spike the CPU as far as I can see... Running it on a MacBook Air on which I normally have a few Linux VMs open...

The only API is in C, and there's no REST API, which probably tells you where the developers are coming from.


Rdio's desktop app used to be adobe air. Now it's something else, probably native. Spotify is C++. Most of the others are just browser sites. Grooveshark is now mostly HTML5 with the music playback component in flash.

Rdio is some native UI, a lot of HTML, and a copy of the Flash runtime (I installed it just last night, and was curious about why it was so large).

I can't figure out this rating. What perspective are you taking on usage? Technical user? Casual music consumer?

I have no incentive to switch from Grooveshark to Spotify since I'm grandfathered in to Grooveshark's $3.00 a month plan that has no ads and lets me stream to my phone.

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