3.0 (originally posted 8/17/20)
Hi, hello, how are you? Welcome to Albums The Blog, where I promise to sometimes write some words. Today is the release date of Albums 3.0, and these words are about little moments.
Big picture, I think that Albums is about little moments. That’s my takeaway after the first year of its existence. To me, it’s about the rush of nostalgia you get when a nearly unlistenable screamo album you haven’t heard in years comes up on album shuffle. It’s about the pops of satisfaction that come from investigating momentary curiosities — who produced this album? When did it come out? When’s the last time I listened to it?
When I sat down to build this version of Albums, I wanted to facilitate and encourage those moments. I also wanted to protect and preserve those moments. Albums, not algorithms. Five months’ calendar time and untold hours’ coding time later, it’s out, and now you are stuck here while I tell you about my top 3 favorite little things. There are plenty of big goals driving development. I’ve got CarPlay support, a Watch app, and much more on the horizon, but my guiding focus remains drawing out nuances like these.
Today was the 16 year anniversary of Regina Spektor’s Soviet Kitsch, so I listened to it. While I was listening, I thought about how my friend Daniel introduced that album to me, and the summer we spent watching videos of her hitting a piano with a drumstick. I thought about my friend Sean and I nerding out about the sparseness of the production in the music building at college. I could have not remembered those things today, but I’m glad I did. I should text Sean.
In previous versions, album credits were a one off information hit. Downloaded on demand, they’d tell you what you wanted to know about one album, but without any of the surrounding context. 3.0 downloads credits for your whole library, so it gives you the whole, vibrant picture of the village it takes to make music, from producers, to designers, to assistant engineers.
One of my favorite new hobbies is credit spelunking: discovering links between otherwise totally unrelated albums. Did you know the guy who played viola on Integrity Blues by Jimmy Eat World also played strings on LONG.LIVE.A$AP by A$AP Rocky? Oh, you did? Okay Mike Whitson…
Don’t Use Device Speaker
Yeah!!! Settings!!! Of the many improvements this version of Albums has made to my day to day life, this may be number one. Every day of my wretched life used to go the same way: I would select something to listen to and remember just as it started blaring out of the terrible phone speaker that I hadn’t yet selected an external speaker. Every time I see the AirPlay selection screen pop up, I am moved to weep.