Home > Life, The Universe, & Everything > Rdio? Grooveshark? Google Music? How Does One Decide?

Rdio? Grooveshark? Google Music? How Does One Decide?

I have been playing with a number of online music services as of late including Rdio, Grooveshark, and GoogleMusic (which is currently in beta). Each of them has their positives and negatives and none of them, as far as I can see, “do it all”. I know that I am just arbitrarily choosing three out of the large number of such services and leaving out a wealth of others but it’s my blog so my rules. Also, this post would be insanely long – and take a lot longer to research – if I tried to go through each and every one of the services out there. That, and by the time I finished researching there’d likely be more such services out and others which I’ve looked at would likely be out of business or obsolete.

I have listed the three in no particular order and tried to post some points about each of them both positive and negative.

Full disclosure – I was give a 6 month full subscription by the Rdio folks. I received this in my capacity writing for a different blog when I attended an event hosted by Canadian cellular provider Telus two months back.

  • Can play streaming music or cache songs for offline playback (only with the more expensive subscription).
  • Can be accessed on the Web has apps for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone as well as specific players downloadable for Mac OS X and Windows.
  • 10,000,000+ songs although not all available in Canada due to copyright laws.
  • Desktop app allows you to control music from your keyboard’s music control keys (if you have them, on my laptop it is the “F keys”).
  • No free version although there is a free trial.
  • Subscription required costing either from $4.99/month to $9.99/month depending on what you want from the service.
  • Although it might show you it has a song within its library if you’re not in the right region (Canada vs USA) you can’t listen to it due to copyright rules.
  • Has a social aspect where you can see what you’re friends have been listening to and what playlists they’ve made.
  • Allows you to follow “influencers” such as bands or musicians or just people within the music industry to see what they recommend you listen to.
  • rdio.com


  • 35,000,000 registered users.
  • You can upload music into the cloud. Any music you upload is available to any other user.
  • Free with ads, but has pay options which offer more features and has no ads. You can also earn points towards these pay versions by filling out surveys.
  • Streams over 100 million songs per month.
  • Has been around since 2007, so it is the oldest of all of the three we are looking at.
  • Has a social aspect to it where you can see what your friends have been listening to.
  • Allows you to share what you are listening to to Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and other networks. When you do this – specifically with Twitter – the tweet is formatted to include the #nowplaying hashtag and the #MusicMonday hashtag (on Mondays only). Would be nice if they could set the service to @mention the band by name but you can’t have everything!
  • When you share a link to a song people can listen to it in its entirety.
  • Because music can be uploaded by other users it isn’t always marked correctly (wrong song titles or attributed to the wrong album for example). As well, sometimes the quality is terrible…I was listening to a song today which sounded like I was listening to a scratched CD because it kept ‘skipping.’
  • Allows sign in using Facebook or Twitter credentials.
  • No official app, web interface only.
  • No PC or Mac program which means you have to control it via the browser tab you have it open in.
  • grooveshark.com

Google Music Beta

  • Supports streaming music to desktop browsers and Android phones and tablets, or any other device that can use the Adobe Flash platform.
  • As far as I can tell completely lacks a social aspect as of now.
  • Directly connected to your Google account.
  • While in beta supports storing of up to 20,000 songs for free (you upload your own music into the cloud). Supposed to be allowing the storage of much more once it leaves beta.
  • Currently invite only.
  • Free.
  • Only available in the USA & Canada. Wikipedia says only USA but I signed up for it from Toronto, Ontario, Canada and was given my invite by someone else who was/is also in Toronto.
  • Only has an app for Android (which is Google owned). Who knows if there will be support for other mobile platforms or for PC/Mac.
  • No PC or Mac program which means you have to control it via the browser tab you have it open in.
  • http://music.google.com/

That is my take on them. I used the Wikipedia entries on each of them (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grooveshark & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rdio & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_Beta_by_Google) for some of the info you see but the rest is only experiential and what I have read previously. Again, I am also well aware that I left out other services such as Pandora.

I have to say I think that Google’s offering will be very powerful because I like a lot of things Google does. However, the problem with the Google service may be that it doesn’t have an app for other platforms which may discourage people who use an iPhone a BlackBerry or a Windows 7 device from using the service. The fact that the service isn’t currently socially integrated may also not bode well for it. However, to be perfectly fair I personally don’t really use the social aspect of the other services. That being said, the one that “everyone” is using may help that service gain the critical mass required to become dominant. Right now, I like Grooveshark the most for its selection but, at the same time, like Rdio’s apps.

Have you used any of the ones I’ve mentioned? Any which aren’t on the list? Which do you prefer?

  1. Rafael
    December 19, 2012 at 3:17 am

    What I aI use Grooveshark the most.
    However, what I don’t like about GS is that songs you have added to your collection may suddenly disappear without warning. I have many playlists which are significantly smaller than they were when they were created.
    The worst part is, sometimes you don’t even know which songs went missing

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