The State of Digital Music: The Rdio Conversations

I see value in their service obviously or I wouldn’t subscribe but valuation of music itself has been terribly distorted by the industry itself and to a lesser extent the technology of the last century. I have been involved in my local music scene for over 20 years and “music” is not exactly a rare commodity. The whole industry is built around transferring an intangible experience into a physical object that can be sold. If you remove the object, you are left with something that is culturally important but monetarily worth very little.

One could also say that $60 is competing with free so perhaps a little valet service is justified?

=) 4 months ago

maudeman @G What is if not a huddle?

All I’m saying is that Rdio hasn’t developed much, and whether that is because of Budget, or disinterest, or lack of ambition, the track recos is not good for a longer-term success here. 4 months ago

Visible Light Good job cogitating and lucubrating about things digital/social/musical. I am learning and enjoying even if I have nothing to add. Y’all just let me know when the party is moving to another venue. Until then I will be rebuilding my lost cue. Now I feel like a REAL member of the Rdio community! 4 months ago

CAW a.k.a. The Aquatic Ape Of course, is it fair to say that for $60/year, one should foster no pretensions that she/he has any right to walk a way with a tangible from a service like this? I mean, I have collected LPs and CDs for 30 years and throughout that period, the concept of “playlist” only ever figured in radio-shows I hosted and tapes I mixed – that is, once I stopped treating them like a concept and did the heavy-lifting of making them a “something” (and unless I taped them those radio shows disappeard into the ether, too). I think it is kind of sentimental to assign so much value to online playlists. I mean granted, occasionally a particular mix can elicit one of those “what a beautiful segue” prides, but really, so what? With the same sort of sweat equity and monetary investment that “the old way” required, nothing that gets created in here would need to be destroyed. Again, $4.99/month – and you want and expect valet-service ON TOP OF all the music? 4 months ago

Turdish Burl With respects to the musical history would primarily be locked into “collections” and “playlists”.

For large collections, trying to rebuild them would require remembering an awful lot of information not to mention time. Can’t speak for anyone else but my memory certainly isn’t sharp enough to remember every library record I have dug up here for example. Playlists also (obviously) represent a large investment of time that would be lost. Multiply that times everyone in the system and that is a lot of (private and shared) education and collation to lose in one shot.

Google’s cache is at best a last chance holy mary. It certainly isn’t permanent and is subject to the whims of Google themselves as well as external policy.

Reviews to a lesser extent are also important. I am sure anyone that relies on movie reviews would find it disheartening if tomorrow or went offline. Reviews are also record of what the cultural climate was like at the time.

Unfortunately I see (and spotify for that matter) as prime targets for destruction / assimilation by larger interests. In fact, I expect that is’s intent being a start-up (hoping for a quick exit). If gets really popular the easiest thing for Apple to do would be to buy them out and then make it suck or shut it down out right. Apple has done similar things with music software companies for example. Microsoft is another company looking to expand that has a long history of gobbling up or destroying competitors.

Netflix would be an obvious comparison here. They have chosen to destroy their social aspects in the last year or so which means that a large pool of review data is functionally of little use (due to removal of any identity mechanism).

I am a glass half empty kind of guy though so your mileage may differ. In the meantime, I am going to learn how to export collection data and enjoy the ride while I can.

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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