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New Yorker Magazine  

Radiooooo: The Hit Tune Time Machine


In 2012, Benjamin Moreau, an artist and d.j., was test-driving his car-collector father’s most recent acquisition, a white 1966 Renault Caravelle, in the French Riviera. “As we drove along this road, lost in time, my fingers came across the splendid old radio on the exquisite wooden dashboard,” he recalled. When Moreau switched it on, the speakers belched “a wave of awful commercial music,” he said, “instantly bursting the time bubble we were so happily swimming in.” The moment led to an idea: what if you could organize music, not based on genre or complex algorithms but instead as a part of time and space? What if, instead of scrolling through artists and songs arranged alphabetically, you could explore them historically and geographically?

He brought the concept to his friend Raphaël Hamburger, a music producer and soundtrack supervisor who had amassed a vast collection of music from all over the world. You pick a country on a world map, select a decade in the twentieth century or the aughts (or listen to contemporary music via a “Now” option), and enjoy a curated playlist of crowdsourced songs from that time and place.

They called their idea and company Radiooooo—the five o’s represent the five continental landmasses, all of which you can hear music from, though Antarctica’s stations contain mostly whale songs. (So as to avoid confusion, they bought all the domains from radiooo.com to radioooooooooooooooooooo.com.) In 2013, they secured funding and were able to launch the site. By this time they had partnered with Anne-Claire Troubat, an attorney specializing in international business, who left her job at an investment firm to become C.E.O. To get their time machine started, Moreau and Hamburger needed a community of contributors. They took advantage of one of the Internet’s great human resources, the obsessively specialized music nerd, to endow the collection.

Radiooooo employs curators who spend hours every day combing through hundreds of submissions from almost thirty thousand contributors, from all over the world (Troubat refers to them as “treasure hunters”). The curators make sure the audio files are high quality, and judge whether or not the song fits the Radiooooo aesthetic, which can be difficult to define. For Moreau, the decisions about which music to include are instinctive, and “the music is only selected based on how we feel when we start listening to a track. The ability of a song to touch us instantaneously, in a completely subjective way. I would almost say in a naive way . . . We are not trying to apply ethno-musical criteria. We are keeping what we believe are true musical treasures.” Troubat told me that the strength of the editorial line leaves lots of good music, about ninety per cent of submissions, out of the collection.

The result is that Radiooooo listeners, of whom there are now over a hundred and seventy thousand, have access to music from inveterate collectors of Mandopop, Afrobeat, Italo disco, Yé-yé, and many other genres. Attention to detail is apparent in the collection, but elsewhere, too. On loading Radiooooo’s site, you are presented with a map of the world that was hand-drawn by Moreau and his partner Noemi Ferst, an illustrator and Radiooooo’s artistic director, using a quill pen and ink. Even the user experience is pleasantly calculated: click on a country, select a decade, as well as a mood: slow, fast, or weird, for “those eager to take the trip a little further.” Afterward, you can enjoy song after song, as though you were listening to the best radio station in eighties Berlin, sixties Bangkok, or seventies Beirut. In Taxi Mode you can cobble together your own “musical road trip” by combining any number of countries and decades, for example Colombia, Ethiopia, and Sweden in the fifties, sixties and seventies. This feature allows you to experiment with space-time combinations—like a time-travelling d.j. in pursuit of the universe’s vibe.

And, like any great d.j., Radiooooo inspires a compulsive urge to find out what’s playing. I found myself clicking back and forth between browser tabs to capture the name of the Peruvian rock group from the sixties, or diving across the kitchen, spatula in hand, to jot down a song from the Shanghai jazz scene in the nineteen-twenties. I also found Radiooooo pleasantly limiting: you can’t scroll through an endless catalogue and pick the artist or song that you want to listen to. You aren’t allowed to skip songs you don’t like; instead, you’re forced to choose another decade or country. For Troubat, the choice that services like Spotify and Pandora provides is ultimately an illusion, in which abundance is actually constraining, “I think right now on the Internet there are so many choices that you end up listening to always the same things, like you have your habits and if you listen to Spotify the algorithms will always get you back to what you know,” she said.


It is rare to find a tech company so steeped in nostalgia, yet that is precisely what makes Radiooooo not only charming, and somehow quintessentially French, but also remarkably effective. The developers are relying not on algorithms or crowdsourcing or big data, but on the mercurial dictates of taste. An algorithm can never account for the intangible qualities of music the way a radio d.j. or older sibling might. Radiooooo fills this role elegantly. It takes advantage of one of the best things about the Internet, the ability of people from all over the world to contribute to a common cause, and rejects one of the worst, the dispiriting monotony of automated algorithmic curation.





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The bestselling albums of all-time – reranked by streaming stats

Who’s bigger: Adele or the Beatles? We rewrote the record books using Spotify figures and found that the bangers top the chart.

Thursday 31 March 2016

Michael Hann

On Wednesday, we brought you the most popular singles of all time, reimagined for the digital age*, by ranking them according to their streaming numbers on Spotify.   (* http://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/mar/30/the-new-hit-list-the-all-time-bestselling-singles-reranked-by-streaming-stats   )

Now we’re doing the same with albums – once again, the people at Spotify have been through their data, revealed the all-time most popular albums, and produced their own top 20 according to streaming data.

These figures were correct as of 22 March.

Once again, the differences between the old chart – based on physical sales – and the new one are stark.

Spotify launched only in October 2008, and so there is an inbuilt bias among its users to gravitate towards new music.

Even so, the results are startling.

  • Adele’s power is demonstrated by 21 topping the reranked bestsellers list, with more than three times as many streams as the No 2 entry, Metallica’s self-titled album. However, 21 doesn’t appear on Spotify’s top 20, even though Adele is regarded as the biggest star in the world. It suggests two things: that she has an older fanbase who still want to own physical CDs and that her strategy of pushing people towards buying, rather than streaming, works.
  • The top 10 of the new list of bestsellers is dominated by artists who are either still active, or whose music remains heavily recirculated, reissued and repromoted. Adele, Metallica, Bruce Springsteen and AC/DC remain at work, and the Eagles continued to tour until recently. Nirvana, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles still have a profound influence, and have had their music extensively reissued and repromoted in recent years. Conversely, huge albums that stayed on the charts for years but drifted off the cultural radar appear much lower than on the sales list (Bat Out of Hell down from No 5 to No 20, The Dark Side of the Moon falling to No 26 from No 3).
  • There are some interesting anomalies in the new list. For instance, who would have guessed that Michael Jackson’s Dangerous would be twice as popular on Spotify as Thriller? There’s also a demonstration of the power of the very biggest bands. AC/DC and the Beatles were late entrants to Spotify (AC/DC last summer, the Beatles last Christmas) yet both feature in the top 10.
  • As with the singles figures, Spotify’s young audience is reflected by its own top 20. This, again, is a pop list – with only AM by Arctic Monkeys representing rock. In Spotify’s world, Calvin Harris and One Direction are the dominant artists. Although we don’t have the streaming figures for this list, we are told that Ed Sheeran’s x is a clear leader in the No 1 position, which shouldn’t be a surprise given he was able to sell out three nights at Wembley Stadium, in London, with just an acoustic guitar for company.
  • There’s no sign, though, of the artists who generate the most heat – those whose profiles are high and are kept high, who are media staples (as well as affiliates of streaming service Tidal): no Kanye West, no Rihanna, no Jay Z. Beyoncé only creeps in at No 20. For Spotify’s listeners, it’s all about the bangers, not the personalities.

The all-time top 30 albums, reranked by streaming numbers

1. (No 21 in the all-time bestsellers list) Adele – 21 (806,023,008 streams)
2. (No 28) Metallica – Metallica (229,955,391)
3. (No 29) Nirvana – Nevermind (121,970,542)
4. (No 23) Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA (94,855,753)
5. (No 10) Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV (93,040,647)
6. (No 22) The Beatles – Abbey Road (69,365,618)
7. (No 7) Bee Gees/Various Artists – Saturday Night Fever (65,580,111)
8. (No 4) Whitney Houston/Various Artists – The Bodyguard (59,972,881)
9. (No 2) AC/DC – Back in Black (56,449,731)
10. (No 15) Eagles – Hotel California (55,650,887)
11. (No B) Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (53,960,342)
12. (No 25) Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston (51,724,446)
13. (No 13) Celine Dion – Falling Into You (46,108,840)
14. (No 20) The Beatles – 1 (44,736,403)
15. (No 12) Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill (42,863,108)
16. (No 17) Michael Jackson – Dangerous (39,327,430)
17. (No 16) Mariah Carey – Music Box (22,228,518)
18. (No 1) Michael Jackson - Thriller (19,260,591)
19. (No 18) Various Artists – Dirty Dancing (16,471,861)
20. (No 5) Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (14,177,469)

Spotify’s all-time top 20 most streamed albums

1. Ed Sheeran – x
2. Justin Bieber – Purpose
3. The Weeknd – Beauty Behind the Madness
4. Calvin Harris – Motion
5. Calvin Harris – 18 Months
6. Sia – 1000 Forms of Fear
7. Sam Smith – In the Lonely Hour
8. Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
9. Bruno Mars – Unorthodox Jukebox
10. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – The Heist
11. Ariana Grande – My Everything
12. Jack Ü – Skrillex and Diplo present Jack Ü
13. Avicii – True
14. Imagine Dragons – Night Visions
15. One Direction – Midnight Memories (Deluxe)
16. One Direction – Four
17. Arctic Monkeys – AM
18. Meghan Trainor – Title
19. One Direction – Take Me Home: Yearbook Edition
20. Beyoncé – Beyoncé




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Published on Apr 1, 2016
Wynton Marsalis and dancers Lil Buck and Jared Grimes perform "Petite Suite (for Savion) Movement II."
They can all be seen performing in Marsalis' "Spaces" at Jazz at Lincoln Center this weekend - ( April 2nd, 3rd )
and the band’s album "The Abyssinian Mass" is available now on Jazz at Lincoln Center's Blue Engine Records.


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Published on Mar 17, 2016

Robben Ford, Lee Roy Parnell, and Joe Robinson are Guitar Army. Check out the wall of sound on this live Music Fog recording, filmed in Nashville, Tennessee at Backstage @ 3rd & Lindsley! Musicians include: Brian Allen on bass, Wes Little on drums, and Micah Hulscher on keyboards. Recorded 1/28/16.



FWIW?  (I came upon this schedule - Only because I was curious. Which then was an easy copy/paste - To share for any who might be interested?)

"Guitar Army Feat. Robben Ford, Lee Roy Parnell And Joe Robinson" will be touring the East Coast:

"Each will perform individual 20-minute sets (Robinson as a soloist, Parnell as a duo with keys, and Ford as a trio with bass and drums), before joining forces together as one 6-piece band for a 40-minute set to close out the show... "

Thu 04/21/16         Buffalo, NY     Sportsmens Tavern     
Fri 04/22/16         Newton, NJ     The Newton Theatre     
Sat 04/23/16         Fall River, MA     Narrows Center For The Arts     
Sun 04/24/16         Alexandria, VA     The Birchmere     
Mon 04/25/16         New York, NY     B.B. King Blues Club     
Wed 04/27/16         Natick, MA     The Center For Arts In Natick     
Thu 04/28/16         Warrendale, PA     Jergels Rhythm Grille     
Fri 04/29/16         Hopewell, VA     The Beacon Theatre

(  http://www.pollstar.com/resultsArtist.aspx?ID=333609  )




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Clara Rockmore, the Theremin's first virtuoso (and Leon Theremin's muse), plays The Swan. I learned about this in a somewhat sad 1994 documentary (Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey) I saw years back, where Rockmore and Theremin were reunited after losing touch with each other for fifty two years. Mr. Theremin was abducted in 1938 by Russia, while living in NYC, and put on trial in Russia for making 'anti Soviet propaganda', then largely forgotten about. He was thought to be dead, but he survived by becoming valuable to the KGB for creating the first "bug", or miniature listening device, for espionage activities during WWII". Clara Rockmore knew differently. She informed the film maker, who went to Russia to get him for the film and brought the two together for a nostalgic and sad reunification. I remember being very touched by their conversations. Theremin passed away in 1993, one year before the film was released. I've never forgotten the sweet sadness of this event.

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Hands down. This is the best voice I ever heard; Epirus (polyphonic) singing style.


You can read more here; about polyphonic songs.

The first soloist (or the taker) (Greek: "πάρτης" (partis) or "σηκωτής" (sikotis), Albanian: Bëj zë or Mbaj kaba or marrësi,[13] Aromanian: Atselu tsi u lia) is the voice that sings the main melody. The first soloist performs the beginning of the song (Greek: παίρνοντας (pernontas, taking) or σηκώνοντας (sikonontas, lifting), Albanian: e merr dhe e ngre), and literally acts as the narrator and leader of the group, singing the main part of the song. The second soloist (or the turner) (Greek: "γυριστής" (yiristis)) answers (or "turns") the voice (Greek: "γυρίζει" (yirizei, turns) or "τσακίζει" (tsakizei, crimps) Albanian: kthej zë or kthyesi, Mbahes or Kthehës or Pritës[13] Aromanian: Atselu tsi u tali).

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Hi Nick,

To answer in your question; no, it's not use the same musical scale like in modern western music. The motive (noun) is very particular and different. I am not an expert into this; so I will search more about it (asking some friends with good music theory). Interesting question, Nick. Thanks

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