Archive for the ‘Travel Playlists’ Category

Chef Profile: Hugo Campos

July 27, 2010

Hugo Campos is the head chef at our Bar Adagio in downtown San Francisco.  Although his family was originally from El Salvador; Hugo grew up in Southern California.  It was there, well to be more specific…in the kitchen of a diner in Riverside while working as a dishwasher that his love for the culinary world began.  When asked about his particular culinary influences; Hugo is quick to state that he doesn’t look up to the typical celebrity or high-profile chef.  The biggest influences on his culinary career have always been a number of sous chefs that he’s worked with since that job as a dishwasher right out of High School. (more…)


Neil Young Country

July 22, 2010

(Neil Young playing Hank Williams Sr.’s guitar at the annual Bridge School Benefit, photo courtesy Paul Tomita)

Editor’s note: Today we are really excited to feature a post from guest blogger Chris Horn, a music lover who has followed Bay Area resident and rock legend Neil Young for nearly 35 years. We met Chris when we were doing a blog post on our Hotel Kabuki’s cameo the night of The Band’s last performance at the now defunct (and also legendary) Winterland Ballroom. Chris was gracious enough to let us use a wonderful photo he had taken of Winterland before its demolition in 1985. You can find his writings on music and some of his great photos here.

By Chris Horn

Neil Young is one of the most beloved and respected musicians of our time. Poignant, prolific, and fiercely independent he has followed his muse and penned songs that have touched the lives and consciousness of multiple generations. Writing and performing music since the early 1960’s he shows no sign of slowing down.

Neil doesn’t just play songs, he lives and breathes them. Whether he’s playing acoustic on a guitar once owned by Hank Williams Sr. or caressing punishing electric notes out of Ol’ Black, (both pictured) he can get into a zone that only he fully feels. We, the audience, have the joy of coming along for the ride.

He has toured the world and since making the San Francisco Bay Area his home in the early 1970’s, he’s played the widest variety of venues here.

While he’s performed in the area’s larger and famous venues (Shoreline Amphitheater, Oakland Coliseum-Arena, Winterland)  he has also played some much smaller places too (Old Princeton Landing in Princeton/Half Moon Bay, Saddle Rack in San Jose, The Inn Of The Beginning in Cotati).

I’ve assembled a list (below), with dates and set lists, of those varied sized venues.

I first saw Neil live on July 1, 1976 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York when he played with Stephen Stills as the Stills-Young Band.  I hadn’t followed him too closely but had heard his music on the radio and occasionally listened to Deja Vu. After the Beatles broke up, Poco was my favorite band. One day my younger brother came to me with Neil’s “Tonight’s The Night” and “Zuma” albums and insisted I listen to them. I knew he was really into Neil and I obliged. I then devoured all his other Neil LP’s and my music appreciation course had changed. The time came when he was going to play locally and I could see him live. With Poco opening, not only was it a dream concert it set the course of my live musical journey. (more…)

Joyful Entrepreneurs: 8tracks

July 21, 2010

David Porter, who co-founded 8tracks in 2008 with Remi Gabillet

As part of our summer Road Trippin’ California campaign, yesterday we launched a really cool road trip themed playlist contest with internet radio startup 8tracks. We thought you’d be interested in hearing a little bit more about 8tracks as part of our “Joyful Entrepreneurs” blog post series celebrating entrepreneurs who are passionate about their innovative business models, like Mark Dwight of Rickshaw Bagworks and our own Chip Conley. David Porter, who co-founded 8tracks with Remi Gabillet in 2008, answers our questions about what makes his concept different below. If you’re a music lover, definitely check out the playlist contest or at the very least our road trippin’ themed playlists to add a little musical joie to your day.

What is 8tracks?
DP: 8tracks is a handcrafted internet radio network.  People who know and love music (“DJs”) curate an online “mixtape” containing 8 or more tracks, typically culled from their personal music collections.  Listeners tune into a sequence of these mixes, radio-style, beginning with a mix created by someone they know or follow, or as selected based on genre or mood.

How is 8tracks different from other internet radio concepts?
DP: Pandora (the market leader) analyzes music across 400 attributes to generate a playlist that’s sonically similar to a “seed” song or artist input by the listener.  Other internet radio services typically employ one or more employees to select programming, typically organized by genre.

8tracks, in contrast, offers a platform for anyone with the requisite knowledge and passion to craft and share playlists.  Everyone has a few friends who always know great new music, and 8tracks gives these people the tools to share their selections in a simple, legal way.

Why is it legal?
DP: 8tracks operates under the compulsory license for webcasting established by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.  This compulsory license requires that 8tracks follow a set of rules governing programming and listening, the spirit of which is to ensure that a listener’s experience is “like radio” and thus promotes the sale of music.

Each month, 8tracks pays royalties and reports the music played to SoundExchange, which uses the reports to pay the amounts owed to labels and artists.

How does the social networking function enhance the experience?
Music is inherently social, and surveys show that most people learn about new music through friends. In addition, people often associate music with various life experiences, in no small part because music – unlike most other forms of content – can be consumed while doing other things. Talking, commuting, reading, working, exercising, dining – you name it.

8tracks directly supports the social dimension of music by allowing one person to easily compile a playlist for a friend or broader audience and then share it via email, Facebook, Twitter, a blog or another social platform.  Listeners correspond with the DJ and one another on a dedicated mixpage that serves as a “musical diary” commemorating the shared experience.

What do you love about building 8tracks?
DP: I love the fact that nearly every aspect of 8tracks is a contribution by and collaboration among people who simply love music and, as a result, our platform for sharing and discovering it.

The DJs on 8tracks — roughly 2% of our customer base — are also our “vendors” in that they’re the ones who create the programming for the other 98% who come to tune in.  Moreover, the whole reason to make a mix is to share it, and each DJ who creates a mix then promotes it to friends and followers, which in turn provides exposure for 8tracks as a whole.

Our team is primarily a nights-and-weekends crew at this point.  We’ve no actual employees, and a number of people contribute their time gratis or for equity.  Further, as we offer an open API for playback, a handful of developers who love 8tracks have made (or are making) new applications for listening, including a Firefox add-on, Chrome extension and Android player.

We also do our best to respond quickly to people’s suggestions and questions through an online feedback application called UserVoice and by monitoring mentions of “8tracks” on Twitter.  This input is used to inform product development.

Why is this a great way to discover new music?
DP: It’s a great way to discover music because the platform combines, on a global scale, the 2 tried-and-true means for music discovery:  radio + word-of-mouth sharing among friends.  We can enhance these familiar concepts through the internet medium.

How widely is 8tracks being adopted?
DP: We attract 200,000-300,000 visitors per month (there’s some variability due on time of year and source of traffic).  To date, more than 30,000 DJs have created over 100,000 mixes.

What’s new or on the horizon at 8tracks?
DP: We’re about to introduce a new homepage, which will allow listeners to slice-and-dice our myriad mixes by those they “follow” on 8tracks (a la Twitter) and by any combination of tags applied by DJs to describe their mixes (typically genre or mood).

Also, since most mixes are a little over 1/2 hour, we currently select a “next mix” to play at the completion of the first based on a rudimentary match of artist. Going forward, when a DJ publishes a new mix we’re going to allow and encourage them to choose the mix that follows; in this way, a DJ serves as curator not only of the tracks in his or her mix, but also the mixes on the 8tracks network.

Finally, we’re about to submit our iPhone application to Apple, which will allow you to tune into great mixes when you’re away from home or work, on the go.

Favorite road trip music?
DP: Here’s my selections

Songs in the Key of Love

February 12, 2010

Herewith, our first-ever Valentine’s Day playlist. This holiday is much maligned, but listen, we love it. It’s a day with a surplus of heart-shaped cookies with pink icing, and that alone makes it worth celebrating. Whether you’re happily singled, blissfully coupled, or patching together a broken heart, as ever, the right music makes everything better. Happy Valentine’s Day!

I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever) – Stevie Wonder
My Funny Valentine – Chet Baker
Darlin’ Companion – Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash
First Love – Goapele
2 Cool 2 Be 4-Gotten – Lucinda Williams
Metal Heart – Cat Power
The Man in Me – Bob Dylan
You Make Me Feel – Sylvester
Sick N’ Tired – Ms. Dynamite
Slow Show – The National
When It Don’t Come Easy – Patty Griffin
Diary – Alicia Keys
Kissing In the Dark – Memphis Minnie
Time Has Told Me – Nick Drake
I Believe In You – Don Williams

Road Trippin’

October 11, 2009

I’ve called a number of different states home and California is my favorite for road trips (North Carolina with its Outer Banks, Cheerwine, and BBQ runs a close second). Why, now that I mention it, I do recall that fall has arrived! Where shall I go? North to the Redwoods and spooky Sasquatch legends? South to my birthplace, Los Angeles? A short trip to Santa Cruz and the dreamy new Dream Inn? (more…)