Rdio Killed iTunes

Rob Weychert wrote about his first year with Rdio:

Moments after signing up, I dove in head first, and in the months that followed, I wolfed down music at an unprecedented rate, dutifully working my way through a mental checklist of veteran bands who had long needed my attention as well an avalanche of new releases. When my subscription reached the one-year mark last week, I came up for air to take inventory on my Rdio experience so far. The results were startling.

My sentiment towards Rdio ends on a more positive note than Weybhert’s. In part, due to my differing opinion on owning my digital music.

I first signed up for Rdio in the spring of 2011 as part of my review of Cloud Music services. My initial impression was a good one, but I had one caveat:

I have nothing but good things to say about the quality of Rdio’s service, its price, or its music collection. However, there is something about Rdio that just doesn’t settle for me. And I think it’s the fact that I’m listening to music I don’t own.

It was over a year and a half ago that I wrote those words. Today, the fact that I’m listening to music I don’t own doesn’t bother me. It’s worth it for all the advantages Rdio gives.

Since signing up for Rdio, I’ve bought a mere 7 albums off iTunes. I used to buy an album about once per month. I’d then proceed to listen to that one album pretty much nonstop for 30 days until I had it memorized and I was nearly sick of it and we needed some time apart from each other. And so I would buy a new album and repeat.

My music discovery was either buying the new albums of bands I’ve long enjoyed listening to, buying new albums advertised on the iTunes home page, or buying albums highly recommended by friends.

There was an initial hesitancy I felt towards sign Rdio — I felt it would be an unnecessary expense. I was already content with my music and was only spending about $10/month buying just one album. And once I bought the album it meant I owned those digital files forever. If I signed up for Rdio’s $10/month plan it would mean spending just as much on music but not owning it. As you know, I went for it anyway.

With Rdio, I still follow a similar listening pattern as before. I come across an album or two that I really love and I listen to it over and over until I’m ready to move on. And since Rdio can scan your iTunes library, any albums you already own on your computer which are in the Rdio catalog can be automatically added to your collection. Moreover, as Rdio’s catalog expands you can re-scan your iTunes library anytime you like to see if there are more albums on Rdio to be added to your collection.

iTunes is virtually dead to me thanks to a handful of services like Rdio doing a better single-serving job than iTunes was at its all-in-oneness. I listen to all my music in Rdio, watch all my movies via my Apple TV, subscribe to all my podcasts are in Instacast, and thanks to iCloud and OTA updates I never have to sync my iPhone or iPad with my Mac.

What I love about Rdio isn’t just the massive music catalog that I have total access to, it’s also that my entire music collection is always available on my iPhone or iPad or Mac. The latter is something which iTunes Match could take care of, but then I’d lose access to the massive catalog of music Rdio gives me access to. I also love that I can listen to an album once or twice, and if I don’t like it I can move on without feeling loss. Albums I do like, and any of my old favorites, I can listen to over and over and over if I want.

Rdio is proof of two things: (a) for me, access trumps ownership; and (b) the future is in the clouds.

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