Don’t stop the music. It seems obvious, but MOG is the first of the big on-demand music streaming services to get this right on a tablet. Today MOG officially releases its iPad app, and it includes MOG Radio which when enabled will continue to play songs after your currently queued tracks finish. No more hours of accidental silence. It’s also retina-ready to crisply display artwork, bios, editor’s picks, and reviews.
Compared to Rdio’s iPad app and Spotify for iPhone (no iPad app available), MOG has the best experience for simply playing music, it streams in higher fidelity on Wi-Fi, and provides the most accurate recommendations. Here’s a full breakdown of how the three compare on music playback, discovery, price, and sound quality.
MOG was hoping to do a big launch today but Apple pushed its new iPad app live Saturday night. Its release and the booming early sales of the New iPad should wake up Spotify and other music companies to the fact that it’s crucial to offer apps for Apple’s tablet. Beyond portability, they make a great dedicated music playing second screen for use beside a laptop.
So if you’ve got an iPad, which on-demand music streaming app and service should you choose? MOG is my pick. Here’s why:
The biggest advantage of tablet streaming apps over their smartphone sisters is the space to always show both play controls and what you’re currently hearing. MOG nails music playback on iPad. A persistent play bar up top can always be expanded to show album art near-fullscreen (4/5s), bigger than Rdio (3/5s). MOG CEO David Hyman tells me “With the new Retina resolution, you feel like you’re holding the album in your hand.
The play bar also hosts the MOG Radio button. Instead of going quiet when your current selection ends, if enabled MOG Radio automatically starts playing an infinite loop of songs related to what you were listening to. A slider lets you select to hear more by the exact artist you were hearing or give MOG the freedom to play similar artists too.
That means you can cue up a single song, and then let MOG Radio take over, similar to a certain music genome project you’ve probably heard of. Hyman tells me “The goal was to build a Pandora-style radio experience where you don’t have to use thumbs up and down, we just automatically improve over time” by tracking your plays and skips.
MOG Radio alone will make me choose it over Rdio whose Play Station doesn’t kick in automatically and merely shuffles your current selection, or Spotify which only offers standard loop and shuffle.
This has traditionally been Rdio’s domain but MOG has done a good job of usurping the throne. Both offer pages of new releases and charts, and Rdio’s feel a little cleaner to browse. MOG’s also includes editor’s picks, though, to clue you into cool stuff that might not be popular or brand new.
Rdio shines with its Heavy Rotation page, which offers quick access to what you, friends, and the whole user base are playing most. I often get addicted to songs and not having to search for them each time I return is very helpful. MOG’s recommendations trump Rdio’s, though. Rdio only uses your play history, so when I listened to a throwback Blink 182 album first, all my recommendations were of emo rock I hardly listen to anymore. MOG pre-populates its algorithm with your Facebook Likes, and then improves it with your listening habits which makes its recommendations much more accurate for new users.
When you find someone good on MOG, not only can you add it to your queue like on Rdio, you can choose to play it next, at the end of your queue, or ditch your queue and play it now. Spotify only lets you add songs to playlists, which both its competitors do too.
Pricing, Offline Play, and Sound Quality
In what I wouldn’t be surprised to learn is price fixing, MOG, Spotify, and Rdio all charge $9.99 per month for unlimited ad-free mobile listening. Rdio scores points by letting you use your free minutes on mobile, while the others make you to pay to even try their mobile apps.
All three companies let you beam music to your home stereo over AirPlay, and sync/download music to your device for offline playlists. Spotify only lets you download playlists, Rdio does that plus albums, while MOG lets you sync playlists, albums, and songs. In both streaming and downloading, MOG offers the highest bitrate if enabled:
- MOG: High quality is 320kbps available on Wi-Fi, low quality is 64kbps for 4G and 3G
- Spotify: High quality is 160 kbps, low quality is 96kbps
- Rdio: High quality is 256kbps available on Wi-Fi, according to an Rdio employee in its Help Center, as technically the company does not disclose exact streaming rates
So with the best music playback, strong discovery, and the highest streaming rates for Wi-Fi, my testing shows MOG now has the top on-demand music streaming iPad app. You’ll have to pay, and its competitors may offer higher fidelity if you’re without Wi-Fi, but MOG’s the best choice for most people. Now, go rock out.