The State of Digital Music: The Rdio Conversations

K Rom It’s almost 4 a.m. where I am right now so my roll is petering out, but I’m going to go to sleep feeling hopeful, which is a rare gift past the age of about 30. Thanks for starting a great discussion, Jason! And thanks to all the awesome rdio folks who make this such a stimulating place to hang out. 4 months ago

David P Ah yes, I remember making an ill-advised little quip about the ‘Lala-Elite’ a couple of years ago now… 4 months ago

GrEtcHen Lacey, you ask so many interesting questions, I have a thousand knee jerk responses. I’m not going to answer any of them right now. Just shut up and ponder (which I think is more your objective anyway).

CAW, one of your finest posts ever. thank you.

K Rom, you rock, as usual. 4 months ago

CAW a.k.a. The Aquatic Ape Keep shpieling, K Rom – YOU are on a roll! 4 months ago

K Rom Wow, CAW, I don’t want to seem like I’m just returning the favor, but you’re spitting fire on this thread, eloquently summing up the almost revolutionary social and cultural potential of virtual social spaces such as this. Something transformative is definitely happening here. It’s easy to dismiss, though: “What, me, taking part in history?” Um, YES! The top-down, gatekeeper model of selection, dissemination, and curatorship, which has lasted through most of the 20th century and beyond, is dissolving before our eyes and, as has often been the case in the past, it’s happening in music first. For some reason, music is always ahead of the curve, ahead of film, literature, and visual arts in terms of new social relations.

Now if only we could do the same with our political system. Blech. 4 months ago

Lacey Underall TBH, I don’t have any opinion on Justin Bieber. I’m not really familiar enough with his work. I’ve heard some songs here and there and been like “Don’t like this. Next.” But I could not have a conversation with any of you about Bieber other than in the larger pop culture context. I probably couldn’t even have a good ol’ music debate over something that should ostensibly be in both of our music-listening universes. Like say, Antlers. I put that record on twice, it wasn’t really for me. Moved on. Too many other things to listen to.

But if both of us were around in the 80’s, we could have a decent discussion about I don’t know… Poison. Or Shalamar. Tanita Tikaram. Debbie Gibson. Just about any artist no matter how lame or how trivial.

I was never one of those bemoaning the loss of record stores. I thought they were largely staffed by music snobs and I don’t recall having any deep convos about music in one, despite others swearing they did. But that doesn’t mean we still might not be missing something with the loss of physical media/interaction.

I hated Pixies when they first came out. I hated that first Weezer album. Now I really dig both those bands. But it came over time, having to hear those songs over and over hanging out with friends, and all the debates and conversations, and even the fact that I owned those records despite not liking them. And from larger life/social contexts that go beyond the music itself like “Yeah, we played that Weezer album on that one road trip. Good times!”

My feeling is that most of us are old-schoolish that way. But if you had a choice of millions of songs to listen to from the time you were 8, and a choice of millions of “friends” so that you never had to listen to or discuss anything you didn’t want to, wouldn’t your music tastes and the place music occupies in your life be quite different than they are now? 4 months ago

Turd Ferguson I just opened up the Spotify Mobile app and you can scrobble to lastFM 4 months ago

Matt Marine I just signed up for a month of Spotify to check it out. I’m always curious about these new music avenues, and to see what they may have that I like (and hope for in what I’m using). It does look like you can add your local music to it, and get it to your mobile. So that’s nice. And I have noticed a few albums I can’t get on Rdio. It might be a good backup for Rdio, instead of MOG. 4 months ago

3 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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