Romey's Ramblings

Random musings of Jeromey Balderrama

November 21, 2015
by Romey

Music Revisit: 60,000 Scrobbles

Note: This is a follow-up to a post I wrote back in 2012 when I passed the 40,000 Scrobble mark.

It’s taken 9 years, but I’ve eclipsed 60,000 listens, or Scrobbles using  For those who don’t know, this is a site that tracks your listens and provides data and recommendations based on your interests.  However in the years that have passed, streaming services have eaten the lunch of’s latter goal and unfortunately it seems the site is relegated to tracking. Given how much data I’ve been pumping into them, I’m glad that CBS is still keeping them around – for the time being.

It’s taken over three years for me to amass the next 20,000 songs, which is probably slower than most given that I listen to podcasts during essentially every commute.  As you’ll see below most of my rankings haven’t changed that much, although there has been a shift in the songs that have become more popular.

Dropped off the list:

  • Pearl Jam, previously at #1 with 475 plays.

10. Ozomatli (517 Plays, New to Top 10). Ozomatli is still a mainstream in my listening, and is my default go-to band when I want to hear some music in Spanish. Top Album: Don’t Mess With The Dragon. Top Tracks: Can’t Stop, La Gallina, Cut Chemist Suite

9. Outkast (557 Plays, Previously #9). If there was one group that I wish would get back together and play music, it would be Outkast. Unfortunately with all things in life: it’s just not that easy. Until then I’ll just need to be comforted by my Andre 3000 playlist.  Top Album: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Top Tracks: Ms. Jackson, Rosa Parks, Hey Ya!

8. Jimmy Eat World (562 Plays, Previously #8). I still haven’t seen them play live yet, and I’m wondering if that window is starting to close.   Top Album: Chase This Light. Top Tracks: Here It Goes, Open Bar Reception, A Praise Chorus

7. Red Hot Chili Peppers (733 Plays, Previously #5). RHCP may have suffered from not being on streaming platforms for part of the last three years. They finally got their stuff together and sre still putting out great music. Top Album: Stadium Arcadium. Top Tracks: Under the Bridge, Soul to Squeeze, Dani California

6. O.AR. (737 Plays, Previously #6). I’ve really liked a lot of their new stuff that they’ve put out. I’m a little surprised that Peace didn’t make it into my top three tracks, given how much I’m listening to it. Top Album: All Sides. Top Tracks: Love and Memories, This Town, Fire

5. John Butler Trio (816 Plays, Previously #7). Their plethora of great new music helped them swap places with RHCP.  I’ve actually done drum covers of Used To Get High and Close To You.  Top Album: Grand National. Top Tracks: Used to Get High, Daniella, One Way Road

4. Five for Fighting (872 Plays, Previously #5). I’m sad that my favorite singer-songwriter isn’t really releasing new material at this point. Top Album: Slice. Top Tracks: The Riddle, 100 Years, Slice

3. Michael Franti & Spearhead (924 Plays, Previously #4). I’m really enjoying the latest stuff that Franti and Spreahead are putting together, with the messages being more in-line with their earlier stuff.  Top Album: Stay Human. Top Tracks: One Step Closer To You, Hey Hey Hey, We Don’t Stop

2. Muse (1,216 Plays, Muse #2). One of my other favorite bands who don’t seem afraid to try different things with different albums. I’ve had a harder time getting into their new stuff, but that has more to do with the fact that they’re releasing so much, so fast. Top Album: Black Holes and Revelations. Top Tracks: Time Is Running Out (another fun drum cover), New Born, Hyper Music

1. Dave Matthews Band (2,812 Plays). No big change except for the fact that I can’t get enough of my favorite band and am hopeful they can release some new material this next year. Top Album: Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King. Top Tracks: Two Step, #41, So Much To Say

Thank you for checking in on this journey with me. Just for kicks, I also grabbed my top 5 favorite songs (statistically speaking) from the last year:

5. Mark Ronson – Feel Right
4. The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face
3. Daft Punk – Get Lucky
2. Enrique Iglesias – Bailando (Spanish Version) – my daughter loves this one
1 Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk


November 16, 2015
by Romey

Welcome to the World, Mariana Raquel!

Better late than ever, I wanted to announce the birth of Mariana Raquel, born Thursday, October 29 to Bethany and I, with a very excited Big Sister Clara.




We’ve been doing great! She is eating and sleeping well, and we’re all happily adjusting to our new family addition.

Again, sorry for the delay in posts.  More fun reflections to come.

November 16, 2015
by Romey
1 Comment

Goodbye Rdio, thanks for the memories

Sad to see this news about Rdio, the music streaming service that I’ve been using for years:

Rdio is shutting down and Pandora is buying up the scraps


I’m especially sad because the truth is that I’ve been flirting with other music services over the years, and there are some key features that kept me coming back to Rdio. Now that it’s going away, I’m going to have to find another service that crosses off the most checkmarks when being compared to Spotify, Apple Music, Google Music, Amazon Prime and Microsoft’s Groove Music:

Remote Control Mode.  This has been the biggest differentiater between Rdio and other music services.  If you were running Rdio from one device (such as your computer or tablet), you could open the app on another device (like your phone) and remotely control all of the music.  This has been invaluable in many parties and game nights where I didn’t want to be tethered to the speakers all night.  I *think* Spotify may do something similar, but no services has been as elegant for me.

Family Plan Pricing.  If memory serves, Rdio was the first ones to feature this, and my family quickly took advantage of this, serving three accounts with one low payment. The other services have followed suit, but hats off to Rdio’s innovation in this area. Scrobbling.  As I’m fast approaching 60,000 scrobbles, this is paramount in my music consumption. I realize no one really uses anymore, but as long as the service is around I’m deeply invested in the stats.  I know Spotify offers integration, but I’m not sure if any other other major providers offer this (Google does through a hack).

Platform-Agnostic Apps. This is the deal-breaker. Rdio was ubiquitous across the internet. They came out the gate with the browser UI, then expanded to mobile apps, have a Windows 10 presence and even a Roku app.  Spotify is probably the most prominent in this space, but their browser-based UI didn’t compare to Rdio.  To make matters more frustrating, platform-based music systems (Apple, Google, Microsoft Groove and even Amazon) are more interested in using music to propagate their own platforms.

Playlist Lock-In. This is going to be the biggest frustration. I have dozens of playlists (not to mention my “collection”) within Rdio and now I’m going to be challenged to import that into another platform – although Soundiiz looks promising.

I’ve tried most of the major services and have a pretty good sense of the benefits and shortcomings in each

Apple Music: Loved Beats 1, but that was about it. While the selection is great, the interface is just awful. The deal-breaker is that in order to use it on PC you have to go through the bloated hog that’s iTunes.  The Android app is in an early (and ugly) beta, and it’s nowhere to be found on any TV platforms.  No remote control. I couldn’t cancel my free trial fast enough.

Microsoft Groove Music: Good interface and ubiquitous. The fact that it’s on Xbox makes it appealing as well – however the lack of Scrobbling and no family plan won’t let me take it seriously. I let the free trial lapse. No remote control.

Google Music/YouTube Red: This one is most murky, given the recent Youtube Red development.  On face value it looks like a great deal (ad-free YouTube along with Google Music Streaming, not to mention that you can upload 50,000 of your own songs to supplement the service).  However it’s not clear to me how their family plan works with YouTube Red, and you can’t Scrobble through the mobile apps. No remote control. I’m currently in the YouTube Red free trial, but will likely cancel.

Amazon Prime: As a Prime customer this has been a nice perk, but in no way will this be replacing Rdio.  The features just aren’t there.

Spotify: The most serious contender. They offer the platform ubiquity, the family plan pricing, Scrobbling, (I think) a remote control. The interface is just so ugly.

So there we have it. Right now it really comes down to Spotify vs. Google Music, with a current edge to Spotify.  Writing all of this makes me really miss Rdio.  RIP to a wonderful music service.

September 3, 2015
by Romey

I bought an iPad.

Earlier this summer, I bought and iPad, then proceeded to start to write a thousand words about how I did it and why it was a big deal. This post has been sitting in my drafts for pretty much the entire summer and has served as the single biggest mental block to me posting anything, so for my sake (and to spare you from reading it), I’m scrapping here.

Here’s the gist:

  • I was a HUGE Android guy and hated Apple.
  • Over the years the OS’s have more or less coalesced into pretty much the same hardware and software feature set, removing most of the major reasons I was opposed to iOS devices.
  • I bought the iPad because it’s the best tablet on the market and wanted to see if I could live in an iOS ecosystem without pulling my hair out.
  • I still have hair.
  • There are things that do drive me nuts about iOS (which I’ll detail in upcoming posts), but for the most part I don’t hate it and will plan on buying an iPhone 6s this fall.

Let’s move on.