News

Music Sounds Better With You

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By Joe Armenia

Rdio has always focused on giving music fans the best access to the artists they love while also coming up with new ways for them to discover their next new favorites. The promise of discovery through people has always been paramount at Rdio, and we get really excited when we get to facilitate the process. Creating platforms and programs that showcase not only the superstar artist releases but also the most obscure albums from artists we think need to be heard is a privilege, and we take it seriously.

Today, we advance that promise with another great leap with the introduction of our free stations-first offering, creating even more exciting opportunities for you to connect with tastemakers and artists who feel exactly the same way about connecting people and music.

As a diehard music fan, it’s always fascinating to know what music my favorite artists or personalities are listening to. Now, you can turn to some of the influencers and tastemakers you trust most to serve up some new music. Stations from our friends at NPR Music, Rolling Stone and Paste Magazine will give you a good earful of what they’ve got in rotation for their audiences. If you’re a chart lover, check out Billboard’s station featuring the top songs of the week. You can even follow musical trends as they are made through discovery hubs like Shazam and Hype Machine. The listening possibilities are endless, with stations curated by everyone from the iconic GRAMMY® Awards to Aussie electro legends The Presets to – just in time for Fashion Week - the always fashionable Marc Jacobs International and tons more. Look for the Tastemakers section on the Browse tab and dive in.

What’s insanely exciting about these stations is that it’s really just the beginning. We have the opportunity to create hosted Rdio stations, so your connection to your favorite artist or celebrity can be much more personal. Watch this space next week for news on our first-ever hosted station.

And the announcements aren’t over yet. To celebrate all the great new Rdio features, we’re rolling out a slew of Rdio Sessions over the next few weeks. Continuing the ongoing series of unique, intimate recorded performances hand-picked by and exclusive to Rdio, we’re introducing 2 new sets today: hot country duo Dan + Shay (our first country Session!) and Canadian rockers Tokyo Police Club.

These sets will be joined in the coming weeks by Rdio Sessions from an amazing lineup of artists: The 1975, Daughtry, Switchfoot, SOHN, Haerts, Strange Talk, Jon Pardi, Little Boots and Tensnake, our first original DJ session. Can’t get enough of these amazing, intimate recordings? Tune into the Rdio Sessions station (you knew I was going to say that) to catch up on all of the great music in the Rdio Sessions vaults.

Joe Armenia runs Rdio’s music team and influencer programs. Follow Joe on Rdio.

∞  September 4, 2014 — 3:26PM

Posted by Rdio at 3:26PM in News |

News

Come As You Are: An Evolved Rdio for Every Kind of Listener

Help-home
By Chris Becherer

A great music service should let you listen any way you want. Sometimes, like when you’re driving or hosting friends, that means “turning on the radio” and letting the service do the work. Other times, you want complete control of what you’re hearing, such as when a new album drops from your favorite band or when a friend shares a song with you that you need to hear, right now.

No streaming music service has successfully combined these listening experiences. Music fans have been forced to go to different services for “lean-back listening” (radio stations) and “on-demand listening” (albums, songs, and playlists). This is an unnecessary hassle, and it cheats you out of having one service really get to know your music taste.

Today, we’re rolling out a significant update on iOS, Android, web, and Roku that for the first time pairs a first-class stations experience with a first-class on-demand experience — along with a suite of new features that seamlessly integrates the two and personalizes the entire service around you. It’s an evolved Rdio, tuned to you and your unique way of loving music, and we’re thrilled to finally share it with you.

Free radio, front and center

Last year, we added the Stations section to Rdio, along with the ability to start a wide variety of endless stations based on artists, songs, albums, playlists, genres — even record labels. We also introduced You FM, a station that takes into account everything we know about you — what you’ve listened to, what you’ve told us you liked, even what you Like on Facebook — to create a truly personalized listening experience. You can listen to your own You FM, or tune into the You FM station of a friend or tastemaker like Rolling Stone magazine or The El Rey Theatre. You FM quickly became one of our most popular features.

Today, we are doubling down on lean-back listening and moving stations to the forefront of the Rdio experience. After downloading the app and signing up in a few simple steps, new users will immediately start listening to a free radio station based on their favorite artist, with no trials to start or paywalls to navigate. From there, they will have access to all the various station types we offer, each drawing on the 30 million tracks in our catalog. They will also be able to enjoy hundreds of brand new curated stations, handcrafted by our in-house team of experts to fit any mood or activity.

That’s just the start. We’ve re-examined all of Rdio through a stations-first lens. Rather than a single dedicated section, stations now live throughout the app. Whether in Recommendations, Trending (our new section combining Heavy Rotation and Top Charts), or Browse (our new home for expert-curated stations), new users will be looking primarily at stations.

All of this is completely free to users today in 20 countries around the world with plans to roll out to more of Rdio's 60 supported countries in the coming months.

We believe Rdio is now the best free radio experience on the market. But what about Rdio Unlimited subscribers, our most loyal fans? Rdio Unlimited pairs all of these great stations with the ability to play albums, songs and playlists on-demand and offline. One of the central design goals of this update was to maintain a single app with a consistent user experience that scales gracefully across our subscription tiers. Every one of the new features we are introducing today was carefully designed to be flexible enough to benefit all of our listeners, free or paid. The best example of this flexible approach is Home, our new landing page on web and mobile.

Your new Home on Rdio

Home is the feature we are the most excited for you to try out. It’s based on ideas that Head of Design Ryan Sims and a group of designers, engineers, and product managers here have been thinking deeply about for several years. Rdio was founded on the idea of social music discovery — that the best music recommendations come from people you know and tastemakers you trust. Home is the next step in the evolution of that idea. As one beta user told us, “It’s what Rdio always wanted to be.”

Home is an evolving feed of personalized music stories that surfaces the best of Rdio in a single destination. Stories can be based on your own activity, such as “Keep Listening” — where you can quickly get back to music you’ve recently played — and “Similar to…” — which gives recommendations based on your favorite artists. Stories can be based on your friends’ recent activity, or recommendations from our in-house team of music experts, such as “Artist to Watch” — which highlights new and emerging talent on a weekly basis. As you keep using Rdio, the stories you see will become more varied and personalized. There are over 20 different kinds of stories in Home, and we’ll be adding new ones all the time.

One of my favorite stories is “Dig deeper with more by…”. It looks for albums that you haven’t yet played from familiar artists, surfacing deep cuts from our vast catalog of 30 million songs — remixes, b-sides, reisssues, etc. This morning, I discovered three gems from one of my favorite bands, The Flaming Lips, that I hadn’t ever heard — one live album, one soundtrack, and one single with a bunch of amazing b-sides that I never would have found on my own with just a search box.

Home also gives us a vehicle to highlight user-generated contributions to Rdio, like comments and playlists, in a way we couldn’t before. I follow some hardcore music nerds, many of them Rdio employees, and if one of them leaves a gushing comment about a new record, I’ll probably want to give it a listen — as long as I see the comment. Now, that comment will make its way to me right in Home, the most precious real estate in Rdio. Simply put, Home encourages conversation around the music you love.

Home borrows some of the personalization concepts of You FM and applies them to not just one station, but the entire user experience. As you grow with the service, playing more music and following other listeners, Home will evolve and tailor all of Rdio to you based on how you like to listen. The word we keep using to describe it is “elastic” — whether you are a free stations listener, a hardcore collector of albums, or a playlist creator, Home will stretch and bend toward your tastes, suggesting music you’ll like and have the access to play.

More new ways to organize and discover

Home is just one of many cool new features launching today. Favorites is an expanded, smarter version of your collection — you can now collect any artist, album, song, station, or playlist by tapping the heart icon to favorite it. The more you favorite, the more Rdio gets to know you, surfacing music relevant to you in Home and You FM. With Trending, we’ve improved Heavy Rotation by combining it with Top Charts so that you can quickly see the music that's popular with your friends or the entire Rdio community. Check out our new curated stations, handcrafted by our in-house experts and organized around a variety of moods and activities, in Browse. Continuing our long tradition of social discovery features, we’ve created a new section on the web called People that lets you see what your friends are listening to, right now.

All of these features are available to everyone, whether you’re listening to stations for free or you’re an Rdio Unlimited subscriber. Give them a try, or learn more about how they work.

Built by fans, for fans

With this update — which includes more new features rolled out at any one time since the original launch of the service in 2010 — we’ve put Rdio in a position to be the daily music destination for a wide variety of listeners. Rdio now pairs a first-class, cross-platform, global, free experience with the best on-demand experience on the market.

Every day, the team here at Rdio focuses on building the very best music service possible. Not the best music service for the industry — but for you, the fan. Because we’re music fans, too. We get to work on a product that we ourselves passionately use every day, that we obsess over. Everyone here has strong opinions about Rdio. This creates heated arguments about the product, its features — even its pixels. It’s never easy, but this kind of passion ultimately leads to a better product. I want to thank every single person at Rdio for channeling all of that passion and hard work into this release. It’s our best yet.

We’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time. We invite you to try out the latest evolution of Rdio, and we very sincerely hope that you love it as much as we do.

Jason Russell, playlist junkie and lead product manager for Home, assembled this for the occasion. Enjoy.

Chris Becherer is Rdio's SVP of Product. Follow him at rdio.com/people/becherer

∞  September 4, 2014 — 10:01AM

Posted by Rdio at 10:01AM in News |

ExclusivesRdio Sessions

Exclusive: Dan + Shay Take on Tom Petty in Rdio Sessions

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Rising Nashville stars Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney, better known as Dan + Shay, have graced us with the first country edition of Rdio Sessions, our intimate live series performed for listeners like you. The set, recorded in Nashville, features songs from their debut album Where It All Began, including the singles “19 You + Me” and “Show You Off,” and a soulful cover version of Tom Petty’s 1989 hit “Free Fallin’.”

If you’ve yet to be acquainted with these two charmers, you’ll instantly hear why their youthful songs about love and fun have been a welcome wave in country and their songwriting skills have already been utilized by big acts like Rascal Flatts. Play our Rdio Sessions Station to hear more highlights from this one-of-a-kind performance series.

∞  September 4, 2014 — 10:00AM

Posted by Rdio at 10:00AM in Exclusives, Rdio Sessions |

New Music Weekly

New Music Weekly - September 2, 2014

The latest New Music Weekly playlist will turn you on to artists like art punk act Half Japanese, a capella wonders Pentatonix and soul and jazz musician Diggs Duke. Mostly though, this will be remembered as the week that blessed us with not one but two releases from Prince. Thank you, Purple One! Plus don’t miss the long-awaited seventh album from Counting Crows. Read on for more info about that and other highlights of the playlist, and don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll always have the latest one waiting for you. You can also visit the Rdio New Releases page when you’re ready to venture out on your own.

PLAYLIST NOTES

  • Sleater-Kinney - Sleater-Kinney (Remastered)
    A slew of newly remastered classic albums from the seminal female punk trio that was fronted by Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein begins with the vital 1995 debut.

  • Sinkane - Mean Love
    The London artist with roots in Sudan crafts a genre-blurring album of soulful Afrobeat, reggae and electronic pop.

  • Maroon 5 - V (Deluxe)
    The fifth album from the LA pop rock gods features more big hooks from frontman Adam Levine and a collaboration with Gwen Stefan written by Sia, plus three bonus tracks on the deluxe edition.

  • Prince - U KNOW and Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL - WHITECAPS
    The artist formerly known as The Artist is famously prolific, but he still took fans by surprise when he announced he’d return to his old label to drop a solo release and a funk rock collaboration with his touring band 3RDEYEGIRL at the very same time.

  • Haerts - Giving Up
    Another long-awaited EP from the Brooklyn indie pop act poises singer Nini Fabi and crew for more widescreen exposure.

  • Homeboy Sandman - Hallways
    The New York rapper’s second album for Stones Throw Records features production by DJ Spinna and Oh No and explores the fluctuating space between where you are and where you’re going.

  • TV on the Radio - Happy Idiot
    The boldly tripped-out single from the groundbreaking Brooklyn art rock act is the first release since the death of bassist Gerard Smith in 2011.

∞  September 2, 2014 — 9:41AM

Posted by Rdio at 9:41AM in New Music Weekly |

New Music Weekly

New Music Weekly - August 26, 2014

Ready for the hottest songs of the week? Our New Music Weekly playlist is always hand-picked for your listening pleasure (don’t forget to subscribe so you can get it automatically each week). On the singles front, there’s a killer new ballad by Jessie Ware co-written by rising star/VMA winner Ed Sheeran, along with crazy infectious tunes by Cobra Starship featuring Icona Pop and Calvin Harris featuring John Newman. The SoCal metal act Avenged Sevenfold revisits their 2003 album for a belated 10th anniversary edition plus look out for the first of several reissues from French electronic act M83.

But that’s just a little sample of what you are going to hear here — there’s much more to check out in the New Music Weekly Playlist and the Rdio New Releases page.

PLAYLIST NOTES

  • Royal Blood - Royal Blood (Explicit)
    The British rock duo set to tour with The Pixies drops a hard-hitting debut album with big sounds and memorable riffs.

  • Ariana Grande - My Everything
    America’s current pop sweetheart (and former Nickelodeon star) collaborates with Iggy Azalea, Big Sean and The Weeknd on her sophomore album.

  • Brad Paisley - Moonshine in the Trunk
    Duets with Emmylou Harris and Carrie Underwood highlight the country vet’s 10th album.

  • Basement Jaxx - Junto (Special Edition)
    The influential UK dance duo digs back underground for sexier sounds on their seventh album, the first since 2009’s Zephyr.

  • Chayanne - En Todo Estaré (Deluxe)
    The 17th studio album from the Puerto Rican star of Latin pop finds him riding a second wave of youthfulness despite over 30 years in the game.

  • The Rentals - Lost in Alphaville
    Matt Sharp and Lauren Chipman return with new bandmates culled from Lucius, Ozma and The Black Keys for their first album in 15 years.

  • The New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers
    The Canadian indie rock vanguards offer the most celebratory songs the group have ever conceived for album number six.

∞  August 26, 2014 — 8:20AM

Posted by Rdio at 8:20AM in New Music Weekly |

News

A Special Gift from Aether for Rdio Subscribers

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We are thrilled to announce that today Aether Cone will go on-sale exclusively to new and current Rdio Unlimited subscribers. Cone is the thinking music player that learns what you like and plays what you’ll love. Turn the dial and Cone automatically plays the perfect sound for the moment, selected from more than 25 million tracks on Rdio and filling any room with incredible sound. If you know exactly what you want to hear, tell Cone to “play” an artist, album, or title. As a thank you for being an Rdio subscriber, Cone is gifting a special offer of $5 off your Cone for every month you have subscribed to Rdio, up to $180 off the price. Visit Aether.com to take advantage of this limited time offer.

∞  August 25, 2014 — 11:00AM

Posted by Rdio at 11:00AM in News |

News

Get Connected To Rdio With SoundHound

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Today, we’re happy to announce a new milestone to Rdio’s integration within SoundHound, the revolutionary sound search mobile app. With the introduction of a new feature called “Connect to Rdio,” after you tag a song in SoundHound, it will be automatically placed in a “SoundHound" playlist accessed from Rdio. Along with this new update, SoundHound users will see a significant increase in the speed of their returned search results.

Here’s how it works — existing SoundHounders will see a plus sign (+) in the results page if they have not connected to Rdio. When the Plus (+) is tapped, SoundHounders will be directed to the set-up page for “Connect To Rdio.” By enabling this feature, users will see all of the songs they identified through SoundHound as a playlist inside Rdio.

“We are always looking for additional ways to enable music discovery for our listeners,” said Chris Becherer, SVP of Product at Rdio. "We’re excited to be working with the SoundHound team to create a dynamic listening experience around songs identified in the real world, right inside Rdio.”

This new update is available now on iOS and Android.

∞  August 20, 2014 — 3:07PM

Posted by Rdio at 3:07PM in News |

Artist SpotlightsMusic

5 Questions with Cliff Martinez, Composer of "The Knick"

Film composer Cliff Martinez may have begun his career as the drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but in the past two decades, he has emerged as one of Hollywood's most prolific film composers. A long-time relationship with the director Steven Soderbergh has led him to collaborate on over a dozen projects from Sex, Lies & Videotape to Solaris and Contagion. Recent acclaimed work includes his score for Spring Breakers and Drive. Out today is his latest project for Soderbergh's new medical drama, The Knick, currently on Cinemax.

1. When you think of a TV show set in turn of the 20th century New York, you don’t normally imagine a very modern score full of haunting synths. What made you choose this sound?

The choice to go modern was Steven’s idea. Many of the ideas for sounds came from Steven’s temp score, which included Contagion, Spring Breakers and Only God Forgives.

2. You began your career as a drummer (for the Red Hot Chili Peppers) before you became a composer. Do you think first and foremost in beats and rhythm? Or has that changed over time?

Sometimes, yes. Tempo is one of the first parameters I try to figure out before any actual writing begins. If rhythm or beats feel like they will be dominant elements in a scene, then I will often start with that.

3. Do you imagine the sound of it evolving as the show transpires? What new sound elements would you like to add?

I can’t say for sure until I see it. I can imagine another minimal electronic score but perhaps with a hint of the diverse ethnicity that was transforming New York in 1900.

4. You’ve worked with Steven Soderbergh almost a dozen times over many decades. What have been your favorite musical moments together?

One that comes to mind is Kafka. I went to Prague to watch the film being shot. Steven introduced me to a Czech bar band (that is featured in the film) and we both fell in love with an exotic East European folk instrument called the cimbalom. We both knew that that would be the dominant instrument to be used in the score.

5. The Knick has already been picked up for a 2nd season. Are you going to continue with the project?

I haven’t been asked officially but if I was, yes I would continue with it.

Watch The Knick Fridays at 10pm ET/PT on Cinemax.

∞  August 19, 2014 — 1:05PM

Posted by Rdio at 1:05PM in Artist Spotlights, Music |

New Music Weekly

New Music Weekly - August 19, 2014

A lot of songs are considered for each New Music Weekly playlist, but only the best and most repeat-worthy ones make the cut. This week, we’re digging some pretty unique country releases thanks to a new album from The Voice judge Blake Shelton and an unlikely yet awesome compilation of country artists paying tribute to Motley Crue. We’ve also got pep in our step thanks to the latest full-length from Swedish indie duo JJ and a big single from Netsky featuring Beth Ditto.

Subscribe to the New Music Weekly playlist, which is automatically refreshed every week, and you’ll always be on top of the latest tunes across genres. Hit up the Rdio New Releases page when you’re ready for even more freshly hatched music.

PLAYLIST NOTES

  • Wiz Khalifa - Blacc Hollywood (Deluxe)
    Hot on the heels of the buzzing single “We Dem Boyz,” the rapper’s fifth album features guest appearances from Nicki Minaj and his Taylor Gang brethren Juicy J and Ty Dolla Sign.

  • Benjamin Booker - Benjamin Booker
    The debut album from a young New Orleans singer-songwriter with an old soul, fresh off a tour with Jack White.

  • Kimbra - The Golden Echo (Deluxe Version)
    The New Zealand singer’s sophomore album, the first since she achieved worldwide success with Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” takes on a more adventurous pop direction.

  • Chase Rice - Ignite The Night
    The North Carolina singer-songwriter’s third album and major label debut is buoyed by the country hit “Ready Set Roll.”

  • The Last Internationale - We Will Reign
    The rebellious New York rock trio featuring Brad Wilk from Rage Against The Machine on drums drops their first album.

  • Various Artists - If I Stay (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
    The soundtrack to the gripping adaptation of the Gayle Forman novel stars young actress Chloë Grace Moretz and features acts like Sonic Youth, Beck, Tanlines, Lucius and our favorite fictional band of the summer, Williamette Stone.

∞  August 19, 2014 — 8:49AM

Posted by Rdio at 8:49AM in New Music Weekly |

Exclusives

Happy Birthday Madonna!

It’s safe to say that the topic of women in pop music – if not pop culture – can be broken down into two distinct categories: before Madonna and after Madonna.

Artists from across the spectrum have long cited Madge for her groundbreaking music videos, longevity, for breaking down stereotypes, for shepherding female empowerment and for infusing pop music with some good old fashioned sex…and never being ashamed of it.

Liz Phair: “You know who I think doesn't get enough credit? Madonna for her giant, wide, swath of road she paved for us all after her to travel on, you know? Madonna is the speedboat, and the rest of us are just the Go-Go's on water skis.”

Ariana Grande: "She is strength, she is freedom, she is wisdom beyond anybody's comprehension.”

Paulina Rubio: "I've admired her since I was a little girl and I love her because she is strong, she's a warrior, and she doesn't let anybody tell her what to do and she's an inspiration."

Beyonce: "I felt like I wanted follow in the footsteps of Madonna and be a powerhouse and have my own empire. She showed other women when you get to a point in your career, you don't have to go sign with someone else and share your money and your success, you can do it yourself."

Cher: "Actually I think Madge might be one of the most amazing artists I've known. She always saw trends WAY before anyone else, and had great videos."

Mary J. Blige: “I don't think the music business, as far as females, would be anything without Madonna”

Sinéad O'Connor: "I love her, I adore her and I respect her. I pity her for all the analysis she has to put up with.”

Bjork: “She made it look good to control your own life when that was something that was not supposed to be very sexy for a woman. She's one of the few women who has remained true to herself.”

Christina Aguilera: "I do look up to Madonna as a businesswoman. I enjoy looking back at the body of her work and the different changes. I love the fact that she’s been a risk-taker, and pretty fearless in some of her choices.”

Katy Perry: “If I could, I'd have Madonna's career. She is the ultimate in female pop music, and she's like the Energizer bunny.”

And one of Rdio’s Artists To Watch, Sky Ferreira, has said, “She inspires me to be strong, fearless and smart. She’s more than just sexy or someone with good songs; she’s the type of woman I want to be. I want to inspire people the way she has.” Lucky for us, Sky has inspired us with an exclusive playlist of her favorites by The Material Girl, right on time for the Queen Of Pop’s birthday.

And since it’s birthday cake time, we compiled a 56-song playlist of Madonna songs you might not have heard; one for every year of her life. Happy Birthday!

∞  August 16, 2014 — 9:28AM

Posted by Rdio at 9:28AM in Exclusives |