Hear What I Hear


Goodbye RdioOnce upon a time, there was a wonderful thing called Rdio. It was a streaming music service which allowed you to connect to your friends who also used the service. You could see what they were listening to currently, listened to most or added to their "Favorites". Every artist had an entry which listed other artists that influenced, and were influenced by, that artist. You could write reviews about artists and albums. You could create playlists and open them up for contributions or sharing. And, you could download songs, albums, and playlists for listening off-grid. Rdio had in-browser, desktop and mobile apps. You could easily queue up songs and albums, and that queue would follow you from device to device. And it had a lovely, simple interface.

In its last year, Rdio included dates for shows if artists in your Favorites were coming soon to a venue near you. The most perfectly curated concert calendar a music fan could ask for. For $9.99 a month, you could listen to (almost) ANYTHING and without commercials.

Anyway, because of the ability to easily add any album or song that happened across my friends' queues and playlists, my own queue and playlists were brimming with new artists and those I'd been meaning to listen to for ages. I took a wild ride through film soundtracks with Alexandre Desplat, Henry Mancini, Bernard Herrmann, and Marvin Hamlisch. I spent some quality time with Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, and finally heard something other than Time Out from The Dave Brubeck Quartet. I was moved by the beautiful concertos and symphonies of Sergei Prokofiev, Felix Mendelssohn, and Franz Liszt. I took a deeper dive into the Delta blues, British metal, freak folk, breakbeat, electro swing, alt country, a seemingly endless well of indie rock, and the searing force that is Sinkane.

One thing they didn't have (and I don't know if any music service has this) was versioning of playlists, which I think would be an excellent feature. Multiple queues might be nice, too.

Alas, something went wrong. We failed to keep Rdio. For reasons I'm not sure anyone understands, Pandora bought Rdio for $75M with the caveat that they declare bankruptcy (and shut down.) Which they did. Much to everyone's dismay. In fact, I'm in a support group (okay, a Slack channel) where we compare the other services we've migrated to and try to cope. I'm still grieving.

Rdio made it easy for us to get our data before they quit for good; our painstakingly curated playlists and favorites. Bless them. Last night I looked through the list and noted those who I'd never listened to before AND favorited. My list came to 126 artists—a significant update and expansion of my music library, which is at 767 artists now. Because it is my greatest joy to organize things, I am listing those 126 artists here. Thinking I'll also add all the artists and genres and albums and make those sortable by the same, A to Z, genre, chronological, maybe era? I don't know. The list will get vast, so I'd like to explore making a single-page application and explore optimization of content delivery with that.