The State of Digital Music: The Rdio Conversations

Jason Paul @David I think you hit on it precisely. It didn’t make sense why Rdio hadn’t done anything to improve the internal social experience despite people like us who could actually benefit from it. This is not a good thing at all in my opinion.

I was trying to make a case for niche social networks as the future a few months ago (why does all this stuff tie together?) and I thought Rdio was really on to something because the conversation is so much more compelling than anything on Facebook. Maybe Rdio accidentally stumbled on a great model for social networking and never seriously considered taking it further.

And of course, here’s my post on what I hope is the future. Niche Social Networks (I think this Ravelry thing fits the bill!)… 5 weeks ago

David Crompton BTW–I love it when this lounge flares up with activity, Jason. 5 weeks ago

David Crompton You know it does explain something about Rdio strategy that had remained mysterious to me for some time. While they focused development on improving other aspects of the Rdio experience, the social functionality has remained pretty much the same [despite all the suggestions from users.] Now I think I see what they were doing–rather than sinking time into making Rdio a more sophisticated social network [as many of us would like it to be] they waited and have become an attachment or plugin to the big networks [I haven’t read anything about an exclusive deal with FB so I am assuming they will also attach to G+ and whatever networks make sense.]

I can’t say I’m particularly happy with this strategy, but I get it. I was hoping Rdio would move beyond the place we listen and scratch notes to each other on whatever surfaces are a available and evolve into that more sophisticated place; maybe that won’t happen but I’m not even sure if that’s a bad thing, yet… 5 weeks ago

Jason Paul wow, I seem to have missed a lot. The Ravelry model sounds fascinating. I’m actually trying to dig myself into the Diaspora social network (decentralized open source). Not sure if it can really keep up with Facebook as of yesterday but I love the ideals (if anyone wants an invite let me know).

Back to the topic at hand. While I don’t love the ‘idea’ of Facebook being all up in my business I do see some possible benefits to musicians. I don’t think we’re privvey to the actual backroom deals but I would guess that Facebook is paying out huge fees to Rdio, Spotify, MOG etc. to get the music playing within Facebook. If the music is already paid for and a wealth of people not paying for those services can still listen to the tracks then theoretically that’s a lot more money that trickles back down the chain and eventually lands in the musican’s pocket.

I think what’s good in all this (to the original point of this playlist) is that subscription music has officially gone mainstream as of yesterday thanks to Facebook. Nevermind that I hate the implementation because as far as I can tell it sucks. 800million people couldn’t care less that it sucks and they just accept whatever FB drums up in their cryptic UI. Subscription music is now legitimized. When millions of people get on these things there’s really no going back to iTunes.

What’s not good? We’re really being harvested. Our minds literally monopolized. Although I personally don’t share things on the web that I wouldn’t want public the fact that I don’t care if my musical tastes are public gives them incredibly valuable marketing data. These aren’t irrelevant mortgage ads. These are ads that I’m much more prone to click on.

So an existential question…Is it bad if I like what’s being marketed to me? It means I’m completely compromised. Here’s a slightly relevant blog post about band marketing: 5 weeks ago

Johnny B I don’t think we’re there yet. But I think it’s coming. You won’t be able to use the service without agreeing to link your accounts and share your information.

My question is: What business is it of Facebook’s to know what I listen to on Rdio? 5 weeks ago

4 thoughts on “The State of Digital Music: The Rdio Conversations”

  1. Great post and comments!

    Right. So… Is Rdio the Future of Music?

    The problem with these sorts of “x is the future of y” discussions, particularly where technology is concerned, is that x always changes the nature of y. Because of this, you can never quite arrive at point y.

    I see Rdio and it’s ilk bumping into a few issues shortly that run along these lines:

    1) The closer these services get to delivering on the promise of offering “almost everything” in the world of music, the more they will underscore what isn’t offered. Put another way, how much music needs to be available to make up for the fact that what you want to hear right now isn’t?

    2) Part of the appeal of these services lies in the social aspect, which presently is built on the enthusiasm of early adopters and music nerds. The tone and quality of the social interaction will change as more users sign on. Will Rdio still be compelling?

    3) Rdio is presently a novel way of trying to monetize music in a time where monetizing music is difficult. It’s an experiment that is occurring concurrently with other experiments at trying to resuscitate the monetization of music. A verdict will be reached. Recent high profile releases by Coldplay, Black Keys, Tom Waits — to name a few — are not present on Rdio. Presumably this is because posting on streaming services is viewed as possibly undermining the success of other channels, both experimental and traditional. Is this the start of a verdict being reached? Will this assessment be shared by others?

    Just a few thoughts.


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