Yellowcard released their seventh (!) album yesterday. I was introduced to them in 2001 around the time One For The Kids was released. Ten years later and their sound hasn’t really changed since then. On first listen, I was a little disappointed to hear essentially the same Yellowcard album I’ve heard for 10 years. I was hoping in the 4 years since their last album they might have tried something different, something new. A couple listens through, however, I’m glad it’s the same old Yellowcard I’ve listened to since college. I guess you can call it my guilty pleasure but I’ve always enjoyed pop punk songs about love lost and forgotten. They have always been experts at putting those feelings and thoughts into melodies and lyrics so why change? My pick for damn-that’s-a-good-song-because-I-can-totally-relate is “With You Around”.
All I can think about is
You and me driving with a Saves the Day record on
We were singing till our voices were gone
And I was falling hard, you were barely hanging on
And now I wanna chase forever down, with you around
In all, a solid, if not short (10 songs) album. If you’re a Yellowcard fan, I’m sure you already have the album. Otherwise, grab this album (iTunes link) and wait for the weather to get warm so you can blast it with the windows down.
After even more use of Rdio, I have a couple of things that I’d like to see.
A native iPad app. I use my iPad primarily for reading, surfing the web and watching video. While I do have some music on my iPad, I’d rather save the space on my iPad for movies, TV shows and apps. Since I can now stream music through Rdio, I can give up some of the space I had for my music collection for more video and apps. While I use the iPhone Rdio app on the iPad upsized to double resolution, a native iPad app would make the Rdio even more enjoyable.
Ability to hide unavailable music. One of the downsides to licensing laws is that, for whatever reason, not all music is available for streaming. Nothing is more frustrating that looking for an album and finding out it’s not available for streaming. I’d like for there to be an option to hide any music that’s not available to stream. If it’s not available, why even show it?
More social integration. There are some social media aspects to the site but I’d like to be able to interact more with my friends. There is Facebook and Twitter integration but the only thing I can see from this is searching your friends to see which ones are on Rdio. While you can subscribe to your friends’ playlists and can collaborate on playlists, I’d like to be able to make fun of someone when they add a questionable artist to their collection. Or be able to tweet that I’ve added an album to my collection or post that someone released a new album from within the app.
A more streamlined app. The native Rdio app for Mac is way better than the previous option which ran on Adobe Air. It’s set up like iTunes and feels very familiar to anyone who has used iTunes but I feel like there could be a better way to view your collection and playlists while having the browser to view the Rdio library.
I already have been singing the joys of Rdio but if they made these small changes, Rdio would be near perfect.
Last week, I signed up for Rdio, a subscription based social music service founded by the same people responsible for Skype. I’ve always believed that you should own your music. Apple clearly believed this as well when in 2004 they opened the iTunes Music Store with a brand new business model compared to other music services available at the time. They offered $0.99 singles and $9.99 complete albums that you downloaded to your computer and owned forever. They completely changed the way people buy music and it has expanded to include TV shows, movies and now apps for our mobile devices. So why am I throwing away $10 a month for music I don’t end up owning?
Up until recently, most subscription based music services generally involved you paying a monthly fee and allowed you to stream an unlimited amount of music to your desktop or a device that worked with their DRM. In most cases that DRM didn’t include the most popular music player, the iPod. If a service wasn’t on the most popular device, it was doomed to fail. In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone and later the iPod Touch and the App Store. This opened up opportunities for companies to create apps that let you access libraries of licensed music for a monthly fee. One of these companies that has done this is Rdio.
Rdio’s business model is similar to what others have done in the past. Ten dollars a month lets you access up to 8 million songs in their library. The reason why I like Rdio compared to what I’ve seen before is their desktop app and their iPhone app. Their desktop app scans your existing iTunes library and if they have it in their library, it adds those songs to your collection within the Rdio desktop app. Once you browse through the Rdio library you can choose to “Add to collection” so you don’t have to search for an artist or album each time you want to listen to them. It’s like adding them to your iTunes library. What makes Rdio worth it to me is the iPhone app. You also have the option of syncing to mobile. Next time you open the app, it will sync any tracks you’ve opted to sync for mobile. The app has access to all of Rdio’s library and for some reason music sounds better when you’ve paid for it and you’re streaming it over the air to your cell phone. But there are times when you don’t have the best data connection. Any track you’ve marked to “sync to mobile” will still be available when you have no data connection. So for me, just this feature alone makes me feel like I’ve “purchased” those tracks. Also any artists you add to your collection and playlists you create from the desktop app show up in the iPhone app. It really does feel like iTunes in the cloud.
I’ve only explored the service for about a week and I’m sure there’s a lot more I haven’t discovered. I haven’t gone over Artist Radio (similar to Pandora), collaborative playlists or even the social aspects of the service. I highly recommend signing up. There are two options, $5 for access to the Rdio library from a web browser or the desktop app, or $10 which adds syncing to the mobile app. And be sure to add me to take a glimpse into what I’m listening.