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Why Spotify Wrapped 2023 might think Burlington, VT, is your Sound Town.

Or maybe it’s Berkely, CA, or Cambridge, MA, or some other college town. Enough people were confused about Spotify’s latest Wrapped to spur articles in the New York Times and Washington Post, and Spotify is extending 2023’s audio recap season by explaining how they were assigned:

Sound Towns selected for eligible users are made up of two factors: a user’s most-streamed artists of the year, and the way in which those artists are streamed in other cities. It’s objective and driven by a user’s listening history.

If what that has to do with your music listening habits isn’t immediately clear, it also posted the top ten lists for each city. Noah Kahan, Sza, and Lizzy McAlpine took the top three spots in Burlington.

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Did you know Drake purchased an amusement park?

The theme park / immersive art exhibition (yes, you read that right) is a real thing, and the Los Angeles Times has a great story about it with some really cool photos. It will apparently open sometime this winter.

YouTube Music’s 2023 Recap has arrived.

Spotify and Apple Music have both released their end-of-year roundups, and now it’s YouTube Music’s turn. This year, YouTube Music will create a custom album art based on what you’ve listened to in 2023, as well as match your top songs to different moods.

You can also access your Recap from the regular YouTube app for the first time, but it might not have any stats if you aren’t a YouTube Music listener.

YouTube Music will generate a custom album cover based on your listening habits in 2023.
YouTube Music will generate a custom album cover based on your listening habits in 2023.
Image: YouTube
“If I’m doing the math right, that means I earned $12.”

Spotify had a bunch of artists record videos to their fans for its year-end Wrapped lists. Weird Al used his to joke about Spotify payouts from right inside Spotify’s platform.

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Roon, the popular high-end music streaming system, has been acquired by Samsung subsidiary Harman.

If you’ve ever poked around the world of high-end audio, you’ve come across Roon — it’s basically a very fancy riff on the classic iTunes app that can stream to all sorts of fancy devices. Well, it just got bought out by Harman, the parent company of JBL, Harman Kardon, Infinity, and others. (Harman itself was bought by Samsung in 2016 as part of a bet on connected cars, which, well, sure.)

Along with this forum post, a press release says Roon will not become a proprietary hell app:

Aligned with its ‘work with all’ strategy, HARMAN is committed to growing Roon’s open device ecosystem which includes collaborating with more than 160 other audio brands, delivering audio to more than 1000 high-performance devices.

People who can afford to pay for a high-end music service that works with their high-end music gear love change so we’ll see how this goes!

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour is headed to the small screen.

If you missed the concert film’s box office-shattering debut, you can rent the extended version starting on December 13th (which also happens to be Taylor Swift’s birthday). The extended version includes some extra performances, including “Wildest Dreams,” “The Archer” and “Long Live.” There’s still no word on pricing just yet.

Teenage Engineering’s new synthesizer is powerful, portable, and gorgeous

The EP-133 KO II is more than a toy but less than a professional tool — and its creators hope it might get even more people making music.

The origin of the ‘Nokia tune.’

Sure, you can find out from the Nokia Wikipedia page that the famous ringtone comes from Spanish classical guitarist Francisco Tárrega’s 1902 composition “Gran Vais.” But this TikTok from Alexandra Whittingham was a much nicer way for me to learn that fact.

Every motor in its right place.

Software engineer Thomas Barlow has been making TikToks showing off a small musical quartet of step motors that he made possible with an Arduino, MIDI sequences, a little coding, and some other gear. He made a video showing how (and he published code and a tutorial on GitHub).

Anyway, who knew step motors are perfect for Radiohead?

TikTok and Spotify, together at last.

TikTok’s main feed now has an “add song” button that lets you save songs to your Spotify Liked Songs playlist. Spotify says both free and paid US and UK members will get it.

If you don’t see it yet, make sure to update both apps and set Spotify as as your default streaming service in the TikTok app (Settings > Music).

Update November 14th, 2023, 11:45AM ET: TechCrunch notes you can also pick Apple Music or Amazon Music.

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The radio stations of the world, visualized.

Last night, a friend pointed me to Radio Garden. The site (or iOS app) is simple, presenting a swipe-able digital Earth covered in green dots. Some represent collections of local stations, and some, like the lonely, all-shellac-78s Arctic Outpost AM1270, solemnly broadcast into the Earth’s farthest reaches.

James did a good job documenting the unexpectedly simple, nostalgic joy of Radio Garden in his Verge story years ago.

Radio Garden


The newest band merch is a custom font.

Wilco have debuted “Loft Sans,” a new typeface for the band — and for its fans to license. It’s only $30, which is less than half the price of a Wilco hoodie. Good deal.

Official promo art for Wilco’s Loft Sans.
Official promo art for Wilco’s Loft Sans.
Image: Wilco
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Logic Pro on the iPad gets new creator features in the latest update.

9to5Mac spotted that Apple updated the Mac and iPad versions of Logic Pro today. Updates include an automatic mastering tool called Mastering Assistant and 32-bit float recording.

Apple also ported over the iPad’s Sample Alchemy and Beat Breaker features to the Mac version, while the subscription iPad version gets drag-and-drop support from other apps.

Look for Logic Pro 1.1 (iPadOS) and Logic Pro 10.8 (macOS)

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Bandcamp’s union accuses Songtradr of refusing to hire unionized workers.

Bandcamp United has filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against Songtradr, the company that purchased Bandcamp from Epic Games, according to a report from 404 Media.

The union alleges that Songtradr refused to hire employees because they “joined or supported a labor organization and in order to discourage union activities or membership,” 404 Media reports. Last month, Songtradr confirmed that only 50 percent of Bandcamp workers were given offers to join Songtradr, with the rest getting laid off.

AI is on a collision course with music — Reservoir’s Golnar Khosrowshahi thinks there’s a way through

The publisher behind the songwriting copyrights to some of the most popular music ever recorded doesn’t think AI spells doom for the industry.

It’s me, hi, I’m the billionaire, it’s me.

According to Bloomberg’s analysis of Taylor Swift’s public assets, she’s now “one of the few entertainers” to achieve billionaire status based almost entirely on her music, merch, and live performances. Swift’s Eras Tour is projected to become the highest-grossing solo tour in history.

Bloomberg’s article is worth reading if only to appreciate the cute bead-bracelet graphics that are used to illustrate Swift’s staggering wealth.

Beaded bracelets in the shape of a graph that displays Taylor Swift’s estimated fortune.
Bravo, Bloomberg graphics department, bravo.
Image: Bloomberg
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Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour made close to $100 million in its opening weekend.

Swifties and the Swift-curious (and probably some mix of obligated parents) reportedly pushed Taylor Swift’s theatrical release of her concert tour film to between $95 million and $97 million.

Variety reported that AMC says it can’t be more exact with its projections “without clear comparisons.” Rival theaters think the number is closer to $94 million, according to the outlet.

Either way, that’s a lot of money for a concert film and keeps it in the same territory as Joker’s October box office opening weekend record of about $96 million.