Today Was A Good Day: The Live 90s Hip Hop Playlist

Live 90s Hip Hop Playlist

If you’d have told the 20 year-old me in 1993 that I’d one day be trading emails with Jimmy Iovine and Paul Rosenberg about a playlist including Dr Dre, Ice Cube, Cypress Hill, Souls of Mischief, Pharcyde, Geto Boys, Nas, Bone Thugs, and a host of others I’d have laughed. But this happened, IRL. Even crazier, see that “playlist” at the top of the page? That isn’t just a list of the songs we came up with, it become the run of show one Friday night this past January at the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles. 14 artists, 17 songs, just over an hour of music. Jazzy Jeff and a live band backed every artist and Fab Five Freddie was the host. I mean, come on.

The show was planned not just to live out our personal life-long fantasies but to promote the launch of Beats Music (click here to download Beats Music). Best of all, NO ONE in the crowd knew what was coming. The place was packed strictly because it was a Beats Music launch party. No one knew what was about to happen on stage. Minds were blown. Lives were changed.

I received a lot of hate mail from folks who couldn’t believe they didn’t get an invite. I’m sorry, again. But now everyone can enjoy it. We edited together a film commemorating the event, “Today Was A Good Day: The Live 90s Hip Hop Playlist”. Yesterday, Revolt TV aired the film on repeat for 24 straight hours. Today, we’re making the video available for streaming online. Click here to check it out.

Enjoy. Thanks for subscribing to Beats Music. If you read this blog you’re already a subscriber, right?

Thanks to everyone in the Beats, Target, and AT&T families who helped make it real. I love you all!

Beats Music, On Your Phone Today

If you know me well you know that more than twenty years ago you would have found me sitting in a closet at Indiana University writing a NeXTSTEP app to allow you to search the card catalog and stream .au audio files across campus from an RS6000 server. This afternoon I’m sitting in an office in San Francisco with a talented team who hasn’t slept much in too many days doing something basically similar, but across the whole of America instead of IU’s Bloomington campus and on a huge stage with the billion dollar brand Beats and the support of an all star board/exec team including Jimmy Iovine, Trent Reznor, Dr. Dre, and Luke Wood. It’s been a crazy twenty years, a journey I wouldn’t trade for the world, and it’s difficult not to feel it’s all been leading up to this day (for those who know me less well, some of that journey is captured in this Wired article).

Beats Music

Today we released Beats Music, the first unlimited streaming and download service that (IMHO) can honestly call itself a “service” and not a “server” in that it’s “of service” to the listener beyond just providing access to a catalog of music. It’s available today on your iPhone, Android phone, Web browser or Sonos. A Windows Phone version is coming later this week. If you’re an AT&T subscriber you can get unlimited streaming and downloads for up to 5 people on your family plan for $14.99/month, a deal never-before offered. Individuals can get Beats Music for $9.99/month. More on my thoughts on what makes this service different from others out there in this Beats Music blog post.

Download Beats Music from one of the links at and dive in to this quick start guide to become an instant expert:

If you like it, please take a moment and give us a positive review in your platform’s app store. Thanks sincerely.

If there’s one criticism that’s been lobbed at us most often over the past couple of weeks it’s regarding our lack of a free, ad-supported version of Beats Music. This is a very thoughtful and conscious decision. We see more than 25 million people paying more than $10/month for satellite radio, 100 million people paying an average of $1,000/year for cable and satellite. We think ~$100/year for a service that brings you the right song for right now (and knows what song comes next) is a tremendous bargain. I’ll give you my personal view: If you’re the kind of person who pays ~$1,000/year for cable and refuse to spend ~$100/year on a great music service, you and I look at the world very differently from one another. If music, and a service that brings you great music experiences and playlists from everyone from Pitchfork to Downbeat to Mojo to Thrasher isn’t worth $100/year to you I’m afraid we don’t have much in common. Or put more specifically, if you are ok with the playlist below being interrupted by a loud insurance ad, music doesn’t define the moments of your life the same way it does mine:

Baby Makin Music

I sat with The Verge last week in NYC and shared a few thoughts on Beats Music, captured in the video below.

We’ve put our lives into this. We love music. We love the curation inside Beats Music. We love the joy having Beats Music in our pocket brings. We’re incredibly proud to be able to share it with you. We hope you love it, too. We hope you love it enough to part with your hard-earned cash and subscribe to Beats Music. If you do, we get to keep doing this, and we will write bigger and bigger checks to labels, distributors, and publishers every month. It means a lot to us when you join us on this journey.

Thank you.


ps – Auspiciously, this is the same day the classic Black Sabbath albums are being released to streaming services like ours. Somebody up/down there is rooting for us.

Beats Music, Coming in January


If you’ve spent any time around me in the past six months you’ve surely seen me buried in my phone making playlists, poking, prodding, and testing our forthcoming service, Beats Music. Sincere thanks to those who have been testing the private Alpha-turned-Beta along with me. We’re nearly ready for liftoff. Thanks to your diligent testing and feedback we are locked and loaded, ready to launch here in the US in January, 2014.

But starting today, you can visit and reserve your username so when Beats Music launches your preferred handle will be ready for you and not competing with everyone else with the same name. Pass this along so your friends aren’t the equivalent of @iancr42.

When I joined Beats Music in January I’d expected we’d get this out the door before the end of the year. Thankfully I work with people who have patience and are more concerned about getting Beats Music right than pushing it out the door. In retrospect we’ve accomplished far more this year than I’d imagined possible.

Beats Music is real.
We’re in an internal, private beta with people who know and love music (including a few of my personal heroes).
We’re providing a few artists and other influencers access to familiarize them with the service and get their early feedback.
We’re making improvements based on that feedback.
We can’t wait to share it with the world, and are set to launch in the US in January.

In considering this blog post I asked Orson Wells to say a few words about the right time to launch a product and he had this salient sage advice:

Marathon in One Week and I Can’t Run Two Miles

Calf Strain

Damn. My hope is to run California International Marathon in Sacramento next weekend in less than three hours and fifteen minutes, which, as a forty year-old man, would be a Boston Marathon qualifying time. I’ve been training for months, have plane tickets and hotel room booked, have a shuttle booked to take me from the hotel to the starting line, my daughters, sixteen years apart in age at twenty-two and six, are planning to run the 2.62 mile run together. Should be an incredible weekend. Except for the fact that I seem to have a very serious calf strain and couldn’t run more than two miles this morning.

Training has been going well. I have been following the “Run Less Run Faster” program this year. After a 1:35 half marathon in the spring I tried out their 10K program over the summer and loved it, ending with a 40:37 10K in August. I rolled my ankle in that race which put me behind on my marathon training but I’ve nailed the workouts the last couple of months, from the track workouts to one twenty-miler.

But something happened in one of my track workouts a couple weeks back and my calf cried for pain. Calf strain. Happens. I know the only real fix is rest. If only the marathon would wait for me. I’d be ready in a few weeks.

If you had an injury such as this one my advice to you would be firm: “If you can run without pain, go for it. When the pain starts, stop.” I’m trying to heed my own advice. I had a 5 x 1000m track workout planned for Wednesday. The pain appeared after 3K. I stopped. Today was a six mile tempo run. After two miles, boom, there’s the calf pain. I walked home.

I’ve been here before. If you’ve ever been here you know. It’s fucking depressing. Lots of time put in. Physical and mental investment. And you know you’ll heal. It’s just timing. Argh.

My plan at the moment:

  1. 1.5 hour walk on Sunday instead of the 10 mile marathon-pace run I was planning
  2. Visit the physical therapist on Monday for light therapy, electro-stim, whatever she recommends (I go to Meredith Soelberg in Santa Monica who is incredibly thoughtful and knowledgeable)
  3. Keep stretching, doing the CrossFit warmup to keep basic fitness without irritating the calf
  4. Dial back calories slightly since I’m going to be less active over the next week
  5. Let go of the time goal, aim to finish
  6. Be ok dropping out of the race if the pain is intense. I have another race (Ragnar Florida) January 4th and there’s no point in seriously injuring myself just to finish CIM. If I DNF (“did not finish”) this race I will find another marathon for 2013. I’m not letting go of the Boston Qualifying goal. It will all come together at some point.

Anyone else have a better plan? Compression socks? Kinesio-Tape? All advice and commiseration is welcome.


Pablove + Zoe Across America: Finish Line Is Today!

Zoe Rogers and Jeff Castelaz of Pablove
[Zoe and Pablo’s Father/Pablove Co-Founder/President Elektra Records, Jeff Castelaz]

Truth be told, when Zoe told me she wanted to bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles with Pablove Across America, I discouraged her. As her dad, I hate the idea of her on her bike with a bunch of jackasses in cars driving around.

Then, even after she’d made the decision to ignore my advice and registered for the ride she waited longer than she should have to get a bike and start her training. Even once she had a bike she wasn’t riding because she was afraid of her clip-in pedals and didn’t have anyone to teach her to master them.

Finally she found some riding partners and started getting the hang of riding and climbing in particular.

Still, she had only a handful of long rides and steep climbs under her belt when she toed the starting line with Team Pablove last Sunday. As a relatively inexperienced rider she fearlessly stared at seven days of hours in the saddle.

The riders took off fast and Zoe discovered that while she is fit and has grit, she was on the slower end of the spectrum. She felt like she was holding the group back. When I answered my phone last Sunday evening eager to hear how the day went I heard a crying and discouraged Zoe, not sure how she would keep up as they pedaled south through California over the next week.

She figured it out quickly.

Contrast that phone call with the one I received yesterday after she rode more than 95 miles on the 6th day. She was overflowing with pride. So was I.

To top it all off, Zoe has raised more than $9,000 to fund pediatric cancer research along the way.

This is what our kids do. They grow up and do shit we asked them not to do. I’m very lucky this is the sort of thing my daughter does against my recommendation.

In 8 hours I will meet Zoe at the finish line. She will have ridden over 400 miles on her bike over the last seven days. If ten people read this and each donate $80 to Pablove on this page she’ll cross the finish line with over $10,000 in donations. If you can, please do.

Thanks, Zoe. Thanks, everyone for the support.


Disconnect Your Music Service from Facebook Now

Taylor Facebook

After too many comments on my Facebook for what Lucinda is listening to on Sonos via MOG, I’ve disconnected MOG from Facebook.

This feature was always a bad idea. It’s as if Instagram uploaded every photo you take with your phone. It was, as Antony Bruno said, “Not a music discovery feature, it’s a music service discovery feature.” On that level I suppose it was effective. I can’t wait for music services to stop doing this by default.

I promise you Beats Music will not do the “barf everything you play on Facebook” bullshit.

If your music service is currently barfing every track you play to Facebook, turn that shit off. Here’s how you do it in a variety of players:

To disconnect MOG from Facebook, login to, choose Account in the top navigation, then Social, then Disconnect Facebook.

Here’s how to do it in other players.

How to disconnect Spotify from Facebook
How to disconnect Pandora from Facebook
How to disconnect Songza from Facebook
How to disconnect Rdio from Facebook
How to disconnect Rhapsody from Facebook

How to stop any app from sharing activity on Facebook

Now go put on a guilty pleasure and dance your ass off in front of the full-length mirror.


93 ’til Infinity… Still

I have a lot of memories around Souls Of Mischief’s 93 ’til Infinity

I remember Chris Smith telling me definitively this is an important album. Which is why I bought it.

I remember a road trip — 5 states in less than 3 days — with Mark Thompson where Mark had a rule: we could each bring exactly one album. He brought Rocket From The Crypt’s Circa Now, I brought 93 ’til Infinity. On that trip we went to see Kim Howitt in Ann Arbor, Michigan. At a house party I watched Mark dance hilariously with some random girl, then leave the party running when she paused for a restroom break.

And I remember road tripping to Ohio with Kim Howitt and Rob Francis to see Souls of Mischief open for De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. Maybe it’s just old-dude nostalgia but it’s hard not to feel like “hip hop” never got any better than that moment. Feels like the notion that hip hop could be anything and still be widely loved ended somewhere around that time.

So this nostalgia bomb in my email was welcome this morning, 93 ’til Infinity, remixed by Gummy Soul, from acapellas provided by Souls of Mischief: