Rdio is, arguably, the best music service around. Playlists are a big reason for the company's success; user-generated playlists are one of its most popular features, and the ability to collaborate on said playlists is a huge draw.
Paul Lamere thought it was time to take those playlists to another level. Lamere is the developer behind Boil the Frog, a brilliant web app which generates playlists starting with one artist and ending with another. For example, if I input "The Rolling Stones" and "Lady Gaga," the resulting playlist would start with a Stones song and end with a Gaga song, linking the two with a series of related artists, incrementally building from one type of music to another. It's an exercise in contrast, but the contrast between each individual song is barely noticeable.
The name "Boil the Frog" comes from the concept of boiling a frog in water: if you throw a frog in boiling water, he'll jump out immediately. If you start with tepid water, though, and very slowly increase the temperature in small increments, the frog will, so the saying goes, remain in the water until he gets boiled. So the app incrementally changes the qualities of the music, but so subtly that it feels seamless.
To take it for a test run, I used a playlist generated by the app for my workday, starting with Bach and ending with Norah Jones. Boil the Frog linked the two artists in eighteen songs, starting with Bach's I.Allegro, then moving to Mozart and Haydn, and eventually ending with Stacey Kent, Madeleine Peyroux, and Jones. It worked brilliantly; I started my workday with the serious overtones of Bach and ended with the sunny energy of Jones.
It works for any artist on Rdio, and putting the app to the test can be quite a bit of fun: just take this playlist from Sinatra to Five Finger Death Punch as an example.
Playlists only take a few seconds to generate, and you can click "save this playlist" to automatically send it to your Rdio profile (you must be logged into Rdio and have given Boil the Frog access to your account).
It's quick and easy, too- just grant access, enter two artists, and then boil the frog. The playlist is listed with album thumbnails on the Boil the Frog page itself, and gives you the option to choose a different song of the same artist to replace any other, or choose "bypass" to choose another artist.
Boil the Frog is a wonderful little app. If you agree, make sure you vote for Boil the Frog on the O Music Awards to show your gratitude.
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