Prior to the advent of Apple Music, there was a reason why discussions of music-streaming services typically revolved around Spotify, and then in the same breath, Pandora was mentioned in a tone of voice that suggested a status analogous to being a disagreeable middle child. Pandora has traditionally been content bolstering its status as the leader in discovery-driven internet radio, even as other companies have conformed to the obvious model of (also) allowing you to download individual songs and albums. It’s a model that has some allure given Pandora’s reportedly slowing growth and limited reach, so now, there’s indication that the Oakland-based company has finally succumbed to the idea of greener financial pastures. Rdio has just shut down, and Pandora has looted the corpse for “key assets” likely to be used for a future Pandora revamp.
The announcement was made on Monday, and in Pandora’s almost-description of what those “key assets” might be, they mention the price tag ($75 million) and the fact that “many” talented members of Rdio’s team will be offered jobs at Pandora. Rdio CEO Anthony Bay won’t be among them, however, and in the intervening days since Pandora’s press release, the depth of his company’s financial troubles has been clarified; Rdio was losing about $2 million a month before they filed for bankruptcy.
Marketing never did seem like Rdio’s strong suit, so if I had to highlight a key factor leading to the service’s downfall, that would probably be it. Show me how I can stream with enthusiasm, future Spotify competitors!
Want to listen to music for free without the nagging worry that an unidentified agent of the industry will bust down your door and smear mayonnaise all around the internals of your computer? The Free Music Archive, borne out of legendary radio station WFMU, has been putting your mind at ease since 2009, as its essential modus operandi is to offer an ever-expanding library of music that’s legally downloadable and free, and which, depending on the license associated with a given track, can potentially be used for open-source purposes. You won’t find much of a Radiohead presence in the archive itself, but who needs all of that label-sponsored stuff when you have thousands of other tracks as possible bases for your upcoming reeeeemiiiiiiix?
The FMA is a kick-ass, noble, non-profit endeavor, which is why you should totally contribute to their first-ever fundraiser, set up by Director Cheyenne Hohman with an eye towards general site improvements — something that hasn’t really happened since the site went live six years ago. At present, they’ve raised about 8% of their $50k goal, and even though there’s a mild irony in contributing money to something that’s otherwise free by default and proclamation, it’s easy to ignore all that for the sake of something that’s very obviously worthwhile.
Here’s the link to donate, and let Hohman herself count the ways in which FMA warrants your support:
Eleanor Friedberger announces US tour, apparently didn’t get my letters and won’t be playing at my house :(
I know, I KNOW. You’re all like: “Eleanor Friedberger news? Again? Didn’t you just tell me about how New View, her new album and follow-up to 2013’s Personal Record, is coming out January 22 on Frenchkiss???”
And yeah, we did kinda just tell you that. Hell, we even shared that initial jam “He Didn’t Mention His Mother” with you. But DUDE. You don’t understand. This is an entirely NEW and DIFFERENT news post. Because what we DIDN’T TELL YOU — chiefly because we ourselves had no idea at the time — was that she’s hitting the road shortly after the album’s release for what’s conventionally known in the music biz as “a string of US tour dates.”
Truth, man. They start in February. They go through March. They’re chronologically (as well as loosely-geographically) arranged. The string metaphor holds up! It’s EPIC. What a world. Anyway, I’m hoping I didn’t go through all of this for nothing, so go see the woman perform when she comes to your town, won’t you?
Eleanor Friedberger tour:
02.18.16 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
02.19.16 - Philadelphia, PA - MilkBoy Philly
02.20.16 - Woodstock, NY - Bearsville Theater
02.22.16 - Toronto, Ontario - The Drake Hotel
02.23.16 - Detroit, MI - Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
02.24.16 - Chicago, IL - The Empty Bottle
02.26.16 - St. Paul, MN - Turf Club
02.27.16 - Omaha, NE - Reverb
02.28.16 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
03.01.16 - Salt Lake City, UT - The State Room
03.02.16 - Boise, ID - Neurolux
03.04.16 - Vancouver, British Columbia - The Cobalt
03.05.16 - Seattle, WA - Barboza
03.06.16 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
03.08.16 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent
03.10.16 - Los Angeles, CA - The Satellite
03.11.16 - San Diego, CA - The Hideout
03.12.16 - Phoenix, AZ - Valley Bar
03.15-20.16 - Austin, TX - SXSW
Despite their name, Slowdive have been as nippy as the quickest nips lately, and that readiness showed with their punctuality 2014 tour. If you’re a super fan of Slowdive and weren’t able to make it to one of the shows, then you really screwed up, dummy. Luckily, they’re working on a full release of a live set, and to tease the album, a free live recording of “Avalyn” has been uploaded, which you can find below.
Celebrating 25 years since their Slowdive EP, the band recently posted on Facebook to share their thoughts on their recent live sets:
When the band reformed for 2014, it seemed obvious to us to start our live shows by playing the Slowdive EP at the top of the set list. It sets out where we originally came from, and sets the scene for where we were going. And to celebrate that, we’d like to present a free live recording of Avalyn, performed during our USA / Canada tour last year. We are currently working on releasing the entire live set from that tour as a collection, so look out for news of that soon.
Soon, you — the bad fan — will be able to turn off the lights in your crap-filled apartment, set up cardboard cutouts of dads, press play on your Zune, and pretend you’re finally at that Slowdive concert you missed.
As a non-Spotify user, I’m sort of surprised this wasn’t a thing already, but apparently the Stockholm-based streaming service was so caught up in perfecting algorithms and dealing with the devilish wrath of an increasingly powerful Swift monster that they forgot to develop something that should conceivably put an appreciative smile on most artists’ faces. Presumably, the revenue dent isn’t quite as serious as the company’s never-ending struggle to deliver on royalty demands, and music-lovers everywhere now have an additional reason to stay warm and cozy inside a single app; Spotify just rolled out concert recommendations. They depend on your listening habits, and as those evolve over time, so do the upcoming shows that the app highlights.
The feature formally goes by the name “Concerts,” and in addition to following your perceived taste in music, users also have the ability to change locations on the fly in order to check out recommended events elsewhere or if you’re traveling. Songkick reportedly helped out with the feature’s development, and I’m betting it’s a bit better than what last.fm has been offering, since their recs depend on users entering events into the system. Who knows what you might be missing!
Then there’s the relatively popular (and more obvious competitor) Bandsintown, which can actually pull your “taste” from a variety of sources. Is switching apps worth the finger effort, though?
Hey there, Taylor here with some news for the two people out there still using Beats Music instead of, like, I don’t know, Tidal, or Spotify, or Google Play Music, or YouTube Red, or Apple Music, or these little trinkets that you’ve maybe heard of called VINYL RECORDS made out of ACTUAL PLASTIC with an INSCRIBED SPIRAL GROOVE. The news goes like this: at the end of this month (which is November 30, in case you didn’t know), Apple is going to shut the service down for good. Blammo.
Beats Music (formerly MOG) actually hasn’t been accepting new subscribers since Apple Music launched, and now that Apple Music is available on Android as well as iOS, it really was only a matter of time before the service got axed completely. But who knows, the two of you still hanging out on Beats Music might have your heads under a Dr. Dre-branded rock or three, so maybe this news is shocking and devastating. Well ya better get over it, because according to the Verge, Apple’s created a migration tool to help shuffle the two of you into Apple Music while maintaining your settings and playlists. And if you don’t do it by the end of the month, your shit’s getting cancelled, my friend.
From P.F. Sloan’s publicist:
It is with deepest sadness that we are announcing that P.F. Sloan (Phil) passed away on the evening of November 15, 2015, at his home in Los Angeles. Phil had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer several weeks before and was fighting it valiantly. The world has lost one of its great talents.
Phil was a key element on the music that became the sound of the Sunset Strip. Phil was a true prodigy, signing his first record deal with Aladdin Records when he was thirteen. He recently published his memoirs, What’s Exactly The Matter With Me? with S.E. Feinberg, and his latest album, My Beethoven has recently been released on Foothill Records.
Lydia Lunch’s Teenage Jesus and the Jerks to release definitive live collection on Nicolas Jaar’s label
Nicolas Jaar’s Other People label is releasing a definitive live collection of legendary NYC No Wave band Teenage Jesus And The Jerks’ late-70s performances. Appropriately titled Live 1977-1979, the album features live gigs from Max’s Kansas City, CBGB, and Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern. The album was compiled by Weasel Walter (The Flying Luttenbachers, Cellular Chaos, etc.), who’s basically the unofficial (maybe official?) record-keeper of the No Wave movement.
Hey, remember who was a member of Teenage Jesus for a period of time? Mr. James Chance! Fun fact! Anyway, the band may have been short-lived, but their influence can be felt everywhere, especially in the more well-known bands they inspired, like Sonic Youth and Swans. The album’s out November 27, so no matter how much of a nihilist/misanthrope/whatever you are, you’ll have something to be thankful for as you enjoy the early works of Lydia Lunch in all their snarling glory.
From The New York Times:
Robert Craft, an orchestral conductor, scholar and writer who was called an elegant Boswell by his supporters and a calculating Svengali by his detractors for his long professional association with Igor Stravinsky, died on Tuesday at his home in Gulf Stream, Fla. He was 92.
His wife, Alva, confirmed his death.
Mr. Craft spent nearly a quarter-century as Stravinsky’s amanuensis, rehearsal conductor, musical adviser, globe-trotting traveling companion and surrogate son. After Stravinsky’s death in 1971, at 88, he was a writer, lecturer, conductor, public intellectual and keeper of the Stravinskian flame. […]
For a long time, I loved ILoveMakonnen, then I kind of just liked ILoveMakonnen, and then I hated ILoveMakonnen. Now I love ILoveMakonnen again, especially since he’s releasing a new EP, ILoveMakonnen 2, on November 20 via OVO Sound. This follow-up to the ILoveMakonnen EP will more than likely soak many panties of the men and women variety, and just to get the juices flowing ILoveMakonnen dropped the first single, “Second Chance,” produced by DJ Mustard. Check that out below.
You might recall that DJ Mustard and Makonnen teamed up for the track “Why’d You Call?” featured on March’s mixtape Drink More Water 5, so this isn’t their first rodeo. And it will be DJ Mustard in a (mustard?) tuxedo who will up to the stage with a dapper Makonnen to accept the Grammy this February. Conga rats, Makonnen, on winning Best Album of the Year!