December 2011

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MusicRecommended By Rdio

Best of 2011: Staff Favourites

Best of 2011

Lots of music plays through the Rdio staff’s collective headphones and computer speakers, but some of it stands above the rest, especially when it ends up in our Heavy Rotation for months on end. In the spirit of year-end list-making, the Rdio staff — engineers, designers, operations, IT and beyond — have compiled a list of favourite songs from 2011. They’re the tracks we had on repeat, added to our personal playlists, and endlessly suggested to friends — say, have you heard these songs?

Have we missed any? What were your favourite songs of 2011?

Stay tuned for Best of 2011 playlists from some of Rdio’s dearest Influencers, coming tomorrow.

Recommended By RdioTips & Tricks

Unofficial Rdio Apps: Trnsmit


Rdio has a solid Engineering team here in San Francisco, building features and improving our products every day. But thanks to Rdio’s API, music fans and hackers anywhere can create their own Rdio apps, enhancements and social music innovations. Starting this month, we’ll be featuring interesting Rdio API apps monthly, right here on our blog.

This month is all about Trnsmit. Rdio’s own desktop apps can already match your iTunes Library, but what about all those playlists you built way back when? Move them from iTunes to Rdio with Trnsmit.

Importing your iTunes playlists is simple — connect your Rdio account to Trnsmit, export your playlist as XML, and upload it to Trnsmit. Presto: your perfect work-out mix is on Rdio without breaking a sweat.

Are you a developer with great ideas? Visit Rdio’s Developer page and register for an API key, check out our sample code and libraries on Github, join our API Google Group for discussion, and start building. You can even get some green for your efforts via the Rdio Affiliate program.

Influencer SpotlightsMusic

Five Questions with Scott Ellis, Drummer for She Wants Revenge


Scott Ellis wears a lot of hats in the music world. Not only is he a touring drummer par excellence, he’s also the manager of Pearl Group Entertainment, where he manages bands in Santa Monica, California. A musician for over 15 years, first finding success with bands such as The Start, Man Will Surrender, Human Waste Project, Motochrist, Campfire Girls, Mellowdrone, and most recently with style-shifting rock duo She Wants Revenge.

Over that time he’s absorbed a multitude of influences from a variety of genres, and his Rdio profile shows it — his top artists include L.A. rapper Game, croon-poppers Maroon 5, campy punk troupe The Misfits, and neo-Americana rockers My Morning Jacket, just to name a few. Ellis grew up listening to punk rock and the music of the ‘80s, but his taste has broadened a lot in the past decade, when he started embracing music beyond the genres in which he typically played. Check out Scott Ellis’ Vibes playlist below, then read our Five Questions with him.

Five Questions with Scott Ellis

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Scott Ellis: Good question. In my opinion, some of the best are the musicians the general public doesn’t know of. To the musicians, my answer will be somewhat generic but as far as “Never heard of before”, I’d go with Billy Preston. Some say he was the fifth Beatle, though I disagree since he was more involved at the end of their career. Either way, he was very important and somewhat the glue to the creation of Let It Be, which is a beautiful record.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    SE: The Police - Zenyatta Mondatta. That one never gets old.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    SE: Oh man. I grew up on a lot of ’80s punk (mostly British), rock (Zeppelin & Sabbath), and another style they called New Romantic or New Romanticism. Now they just file that under “alternative”. Basically New Romantic was music with synthesizers and dance beats. So I’ll say I associate with Duran Duran because I would run around Huntington Beach with liberty spiked hair, eye liner, painted leather jacket, boots, etc; trying to be the king of punk but I’d come home and pull Duran Duran’s “Rio” 7" out from under my bed and listen to it in private. I may have even danced around my room a little.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    SE: It’s hard for me to speak for others, but I hope people feel something when they listen to records I’ve played on or music in general. I think this is what music is supposed to do. It should be emotional. It should bring up feelings of happiness, love, pain, rage, etc.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    SE: It’s hard for me to answer this one because I’m always a hired musician and can’t speak for others. I know I was happy Justin and Adam asked me to play on this latest She Wants Revenge record as I had just broken my collarbone in a bicycle accident and figured I’d miss out. Justin called me over to track for a few days and I did most the beats with one arm. I only used the hurt side when I had to do a fill. Quite an experience!
MusicNew Music Weekly

New Music Tuesday, December 13, 2011


While people are busy compiling their Best of 2011 year-end playlists, new music continues its weekly release tradition. Today, you’ll find new collaborations between Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa and Gucci Mane and V-Nasty, which should satisfy listeners who like their rhymes accompanied by a knowing smirk. Those looking for hot songs for non-Holiday party playlists may find them in releases from electronic maestro Moby or UK indie rockers Band of Skulls. Cruise this week’s New Releases and listen to the New Music Tuesday, December 13, 2011 playlist for even more music.

Playlist Notes

  • Charlotte Gainsbourg - Stage Whisper
    The sultry pop singer returns this week with an album of two halves. The first seven songs are studio recordings from the same fertile sessions that produced her acclaimed 2009 effort, IRM; the latter eleven are live takes on tracks from that album and others.

  • Anthony Hamilton - Back to Love
    Grammy-winning R&B vet Anthony Hamilton releases his seventh studio album this week. As evidenced by first single “Woo,” expect the singer’s usual blend of soul and R&B, with touches of funk and gospel.

  • Taio Cruz - TY.O
    TY.O is the third album from British singer-songwriter Taio Cruz, and his first since 2009’s Rokstarr made him a household name. TY.O is catchy and danceable, and should remind listeners both why they fell in love with Cruz, and how to pronounce his name.

Influencer SpotlightsLabel Spotlights

Follow and Listen to Rhino Records on Rdio

BlueBest gratefulAreatha

Rhino Records’ humble beginnings as a single record shop in 1973 have been largely obscured by their recording legacy since. The company started distributing records in 1978, specializing in novelty and punk records, before moving into reissuing in the mid-‘80s. By then it had found its niche releasing remastered editions from The Smiths, Joni Mitchell, The Cars, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, and other musicians making pop, rock and roll, and R&B records. In-house studio master Bill Inglot’s deft touch made Rhino Records famous for their excellent sound quality.

Today, Rhino and its affiliate label Rhino Atlantic continue releasing exciting new music (such as the latest from The Streets) while ensuring that older gems, such as the Grateful Dead, continue getting their due.

Check out the Rhino label page and follow Rhino Records to ensure you’re getting your daily dose of classic cool.

This Week on Rdio

This Week on Rdio: December 5 - 9, 2011

This Week on Rdio

Last week we began a new week-end roundup to keep you updated on all the recent goings-on here at Rdio, including new music, Rdio news, new Influencers, and more. Check out what happened this week below, and don’t forget to like Rdio on Facebook, subscribe to the Rdio blog feed, and follow @Rdio on Twitter and on Rdio.

Here’s what happened on Rdio this week.

Follow this week's newest influencers.

Influencer SpotlightsLabel Spotlights

Listen to Smithsonian Folkways on Rdio

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No, it’s not your typical pop music, and you’d be hard pressed to find them on the radio, but the importance and cultural relevance of Smithsonian Folkways, the non-profit record label owned by the Smithsonian Institution, cannot be overstated. The label, founded in 1948 by Moses Asch, has a simple MO: spread the music that speaks to the power of folk culture, which both illuminates our own heritage and engages us in the culture of others.

Smithsonian Folkways’ commitment to bringing historically and socially relevant music to the attention of wider audiences has rightly made them an influencer and a musical institution. Their attention to detail, which includes writing extensive and in-depth reviews for almost all of their releases, and making plenty of exciting, cultural- and genre-based playlists such as “Throat Singing”, “Boogie Woogie Piano”, “Radio Haiti”, and “Radio Africa”, makes following Smithsonian Folkways on Rdio an easy decision.

Don’t take our word for it though — straight from the folks at Smithsonian Folkways, below are their suggested “Five Essential Smithsonian Folkways Listens,” including commentary.

Five Essential Smithsonian Folkways Listens

  • Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly - Folkways: The Original Vision
    A list of music from nearly 3,000 Smithsonian Folkways albums would need to start with Woody Guthrie and Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter, two singer-songwriters who are arguably the most impactful American folk musicians of the last 75 years. This album was one of the first releases by Smithsonian Folkways after the Smithsonian Institution acquired the Folkways Records collection in 1987. A companion to this album is Folkways: A Vision Shared, which features the same songs performed by other artists including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Willie Nelson, and helped raise funds for the launch of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

  • Various Artists - Classic Folk Music from Smithsonian Folkways
    We often take for granted the influence of artists such as Doc Watson, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Pete, Mike and Peggy Seeger, Big Bill Broonzy, Brownie McGhee, Elizabeth Cotten, and other folk musicians. This compilation, one of the numerous albums in the “Classic Series from Smithsonian Folkways,” sheds new light on the success of the urban intellectual-driven movement that made rural white and African-American artists and their music favorites everywhere.

  • Elizabeth Mitchell - You Are My Little Bird
    Quality family music that doesn’t “talk down” to children has been essential to the Smithsonian Folkways mission. An excellent recent example is You Are My Little Bird, the 2006 recording from Elizabeth Mitchell that brings a fresh sound to cherished American folk songs, contemporary covers, and other melodies from around the world.

  • Various Artists - ¡Cimarrón! Joropo Music from the Plains of Colombia
    Smithsonian Folkways has one of the largest and most diverse collections of music, spoken word and sounds from around the world. The “Tradiciones Series” features 33 recordings that showcase the diverse musical heritage of the more than 50 million Latinos living in the United States. A recent stellar example is ¡Cimarrón! Joropo Music from the Plains of Colombia, which features percussive strings, dynamic vocal expression, and a full-throttle pace that makes Joropo one of the most exciting regional musics of Latin America.

  • Babatunde Olatunji - Drums of Passion: The Invocation
    Smithsonian Folkways not only produces new recordings, but it also accepts donations of other independent record labels or collections, such as Monitor, Fast Folk, and Cook Records, which would not otherwise be made available to the public. A recent acquisition is The Mickey Hart Collection, 25 albums of music the Grateful Dead percussionist performed, recorded or co-produced, that furthers his endeavor to cross borders and expand musical horizons. Drums of Passion: The Invocation is one of two albums by Nigerian artist Babatunde Olatunji in the series.


Love Rdio? Vote in the Mashable and Crunchies Awards

You’ve told your best friend, mom, and college roommate about Rdio — now help tell the world. If you love Rdio, we’d appreciate your vote in these two tech awards.

Mashable awards

Vote Rdio for the Best Music Service/App in the 5th Annual Mashable Awards. You can submit one vote per day until December 16th — log in via Facebook or Twitter to vote.

The crunchies

Nominate Rdio for the Crunchies Awards. Enter Rdio on the Crunchies website as your pick for Best Design, Best Social Application and Best Tablet Application with one nomination per category per day until midnight on December 13th.


The Holiday Music You Can't Live Without (Or Stand)


Not everyone likes your Auntie Bess’ fruitcake, but even your curmudgeonly cousins know that the raisin-speckled brick means one thing — it’s the holidays. People echo this same sentiment about music this time of year: yes, you love to hate it, but it's just not the same without Mariah Carey chirping from the mall, car stereo, and family get-together that all she wants for Christmas is you.

With that in mind, we’re pleased to present a playlist of Fruitcake Music — all the songs you find yourself craving despite yourself, during the holiday season. Including Celine Dion, Gene Autry, Paul McCartney and more, here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays — may you find at least a few sweet maraschino cherries tucked between those pesky currants. Dig in.

What’s a holiday-tinged song you love to hate?


Give the Gift of an Rdio Gift Card

Canada gift

Canadians wondering what to get for music lovers this holiday season need look no further — Rdio Gift Cards are now available. Purchase them at in denominations of $10, $25, $50, $100, or any number in between, redeemable via and our mobile apps.

Whether they use Rdio to discover new music, bring tunes with them everywhere on their mobiles, or simply keep old favourites at their fingertips, Rdio gift cards are the perfect way to please fans of any genre and age. Why give one album when you can give the gift of over 12 million songs?