Photo: via TheGate
Spotify, the music streaming king of Europe, is coming to the US very soon.We sat down with Carter Adamson, COO of Rdio, one of the premier music streaming services our side of the pond, to hear how they plan to respond.
One of the first things we asked Adamson was how Rdio was going to beat Spotify, or more precisely, how Rdio is going to attract users to its service when the green behemoth hits the states.
According to Adamson, it’s all about social. He made it abundantly clear to us that social music discovery is the future, not just streaming whatever music you want (especially now that Rdio and Spotify both have 10+ million song catalogues and the ability to pin songs to your mobile device for offline listening).
Here are a few tidbits from our discussion, with the full interview to come:
- “Rdio makes it easy to find stuff. Spotify is a great drive-thru experience if you know what you want to listen to specifically. Of course you can do this on Rdio too, but Spotify’s great if you know what you want to listen to.”
- “Rdio is more for both use cases: the lean forward and lean back if you don’t know what you want to listen to. Stuff just bubbles up to you seamlessly and automatically. You follow some people (not just friends from Facebook and Twitter) and you get a feed of what they’re all listening to the most, the stuff they’re adding, the stuff they’re talking about, the playlists they’re making. Musicians, blogs, and other cool people to follow are on Rdio.”
- “In addition, the artist radio stuff that we have is very robust and easy, as is our algorithmic recommendation engine. If we notice that you listen to certain artists a lot, we make recommendations to you, kind of like Apple’s Genius, and we also make recommendations about people you might want to follow based on music you have in your collection. We make it very easy for you to not only find new music but for you to find new people to follow.”
Adamson seemed to imply that music services of the future need to solve two problems: music discovery, as well as music streaming. Adamson reminisced on leaving college and feeling left out of the music scene. Rdio, he says, solves both problems, even if Spotify is ultra-fast.
- “Spotify is very fast and it’s able to be fast because it runs on a peer to peer network to my knowledge, and it’s client based, so it’s local–and does little caching tricks in the background that you might listen to before you listen to it. In that area, it does very well. To me it’s like an iTunes with a black background, so it’s familiar to people. People know how to do the Excel spreadsheet for music. You have the left column and the right column, and it’s easy to understand.”
- “Our development cycles are quicker because we’re web based. We’re built from the ground up in the social discovery aspect. It’s a lot more open and fluid and functional.”
Odds are, Spotify is going to go with a similar $9.99 all-you-can-eat mobile/web plan when it launches, but it might have to expand it’s social offering beyond playlist sharing to compete with Rdio.