Best Internet Music, part 2: Rdio, Slacker & Rhapsody

Best Internet Music, part 2: Rdio, Slacker & Rhapsody

Laura E. Hall
Apr 26, 2011

Last week, we compared streaming music services Pandora, MOG and Spotify, rating their merits and discussing their downsides. We got a lot of great comments suggesting even more music sites to check out. Below, we take a look at Rdio, Slacker and Rhapsody.


A US-based service often compared to MOG and Spotify, Rdio provides on-demand music from the four major record labels, the Merlin Network, the aggregators IODA, INgrooves, The Orchard, IRIS Distribution and Finetunes. It launched to the public in 2010 and has social networking elements to help users discover new content.

Subscriptions at $4.95 monthly for desktop listening, $9.95 for mobile.

Pros: Listening apps for every device imaginable.
Cons: User steve somoza said, "[R]dio lacks all of [MOG]'s incredible passive listening and discover features."


Slacker was founded in 2004, making it one of the heavyweights by default. As of 2009 it offered over 2.4 million songs, sorted into more than 100 programmed stations and 10,000 artist stations. Service behavior is different for paid or free users, with more selective listening available to the former.

Free service is available through the web player, with subscribed service available for smartphones. There is also a dedicated portable device for Slacker radio.

Pros: User thewavelife said, "Slacker is more diverse than Pandora without the sketchy hiphop --> Disney effect. Infinitely more customizable than Pandora as well."
Cons: User steve somoza said, "[S]lacker does not offer on demand listening."


A US-based service, Rhapsody launched in 2001. Current catalogue as of January 2011 was 11,000,000 songs, with licensed content from major labels as well as multiple independents.

Current number of subscribers is 750,000 as of January 2011.

Pros: Organize music collection separately from iTunes. Listen to Rhapsody content on an incredible number of platforms including dedicated home audio devices. Subscription owners may listen to music on DRM-compatible devices.

User WilcoFan said, "They have the biggest catalog and have been around forever--plus available in the U.S. I've been a subscriber for years, and have it going all the time - on my Sonos at home, my phone in the car and my computer at work. And, unlike Pandora, you can hear any song you want, as often as you want without ads. Sometimes, they even get stuff early!"

Cons: Downloaded files come with digital rights management.

Thank you to everyone who commented to let us know about their favorite music listening services. We're enjoying our free trials with each of them. We'll conclude our look at services next week with Grooveshark, Accuradio, and Stereomood. Stay tuned!

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