Rdio vs. Last.FM

   26 May 2011, terribly early in the morning

I gave Rdio a very brief whirl this month. Foolishly I signed up for the site ages ago, so I had already eaten up my chance to use the free month they give new users. I forked up $9 for their unlimited streaming subscription for your desktop and mobile devices.

I use Last.FM to listen to random music from genres I like, but am not that familiar with. For example, I love the Blue 6 radio station when I want to hear some solid Club Monaco House music—music that is played at Club Monaco stores. I realize now that this is actually all I really want from a streaming music service. I like to own the music I enjoy. It’s very rare that I’ll be hooked on an album, want to listen to it for a week or two, and then never listen to it again. Having to keep paying a subscription to listen to my music isn’t appealing to me. Rdio does artist based radio stations as well. I’m not sure they work better than Last.FM’s. (I don’t think they are worth the premium i’d have to pay over Last.FM’s.)

The Rdio application requires Flash, as does Rdio’s web interface. I actually don’t even have Flash installed on my MacBook Air. So their native client doesn’t work on my Air at all, and the website only works in Google Chrome, which ships with Flash installed. Last.FM has a pretty shitty Mac client, but at the very least it is a proper native Mac application. It’s other big advantage over Rdio’s is that it can stream music to my Airport Express. Not being able to use Rdio with my Airport Express is a big let down. I listen to a lot of music in my living room on my bigger speakers using via my Airport Express.

All of the griping aside, Rdio is a pretty amazing service. I can see how it would appeal to a lot of people. The website and iPhone application are pretty amazing. They make it very easy to queue up music to listen to later, create playlists, collaborate on playlists, hear what your friends are listening to, etc, etc. It’s a much bigger service than Last.FM. Right now it’s just more than I need.



  1. My friend Mezan told me to checkout a song on YouTube by Nu Tone. A couple minutes in and I knew I wanted to hear the whole album. Here is where Rdio wins big. I looked up Brand Nu World and there it was in its entirety ready for me to listen to. (It’s a great album.) Last.FM really can’t help you in this situation at all.

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