Fun Friday: My Favorite Songs Of 2013

As promised in last friday's post, I am going to share with all of you my favorite songs of 2013. This list is a mix of indie, pop, and hiphop. That's what I listen to. There are 17 songs on it – one cover, and sixten originals. The record of the year for me was the Arctic Monkey's AM and there are two songs on here from it and we kick it off with a Drake cover from Alex. And in another homage to the boys from Sheffield, it is called Mad Sounds of 2013. Enjoy.


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright…the web needs ripping up and starting all over again – ‘i ain’t got no fucking facebook account, i ain’t got no fucking free’ (the lyrics of a song i’m working on over christmas)

    1. fredwilson

      that’s the link i put in the blog post for the entire record. but you will note that you don’t need to do a thing to play the embed i posted today.

      1. jason wright

        yes, it is. Mark’s Mauer. Everything i’m clicking requires facebook.update: now the embed is working, but it wasn’t at, time for a bike ride. see if i can bag me a pheasant.

  2. jason wright

    on the subject of peer-to-peer, over the period of a month or even a year i wonder what the average measured distance is between handsets on Manhattan Island.

  3. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Cool :-)And I’ve shown you where it all started for the cheeky chappies from Sheffield 😉

    1. fredwilson

      that you did. i have fond memories of that visit.

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Ditto! 🙂

  4. Ciaran

    Nice list but I have a quick question: most of those songs look like they were’nt uploaded by the artist – so does the artist get paid? What’s Soundcloud’s policy on piracy? This just says that people shouldn’t upload content they didn’t create/don’t own, which I reckon would apply to a good chunk of your list.…I would have thought it better to use a service where there is a guarantee that the artists gets paid, no?

    1. fredwilson

      right now the artists and/or their managers or labels upload their music to soundcloud to get it out theresoundcloud is in talks with the music industry to add a monetization layer in the service for themi think that will happenbut the most important thing about soundcloud is that i can post that embed and everyone can listen to it without having to log in or do anythingthat’s the kind of virality that allows music to scale on the internet and that is the first step in building a truly internet native music industry

      1. truthfinder

        you didn’t answer the question!is the music pirated and if so how do you feel about the morality of posting it and the sound cloud service in general

        1. fredwilson

          if it is pirated it will be taken down by soundcloud’s fingerprinting technology that they operate in partnership with the music industryit works pretty much the same way youtube’s technology works

          1. Ciaran

            YouTube’s tech then allows the artist to benefit from ads on the pirated content – does yours do something similar? I guess I’m not clear how this is monetised.

          2. fredwilson

            i said they are working on a deal with the music industry to do that in my first replyyoutube is exactly what soundcloud is trying to build for audio

          3. truthfinder

            clearly pirated. not cool

          4. fredwilson

            i have publicly admitted to being a pirate many times on this blog. here are a few of them…

          5. William Mougayar

            I have a question. If you happen to be in the Caribbean, and you download illegal music, does that make you a Pirate of the Caribbeans?

          6. falicon

            Depends…do you have a wooden leg or wear an eye patch?

          7. pointsnfigures

            Halloween and private time only ; )

          8. William Mougayar

            not needed 🙂 smartphone or PC only required.

          9. Richard

            “sticks and stones, I love sticks and stones” Jack Sparrow

          10. William Mougayar

            ah, the album is called Pirates of the Caribbean.

          11. JamesHRH

            Really?It is very obvious that piracy is about the poster, not the user.Any artist that is not managing piracy of their own material is stuck in the 1980s.Youtube has tons of crap videos (taped off of a TV screen, etc.). It also has tons of really good quality videos on official channels.You let people record your stuff today, you better track it. You want to keep people from posting crap pirate versions of your content, you better track it.Bitching about the world changing? Not cool.

        2. Ciaran

          Thanks for replying Fred, but I don’t think that answers the question. You may think that virality is great what if the artist disagrees?Are you saying that the Arctic Monkeys are managed/on the label of a guy in Turkey who goes by the name selfmachine? I kind of doubt that.

          1. fredwilson

            that’s a live recording of a BBC1 session. so that probably doesn’t get picked up by the fingerprinting service. the fingerprinting service is designed to find the official recorded versions of the artist can request a takedown of any song on soundcloud and that happens all the time and soundcloud actively works with the music industry to make sure that its platform is not used for piracybut when anyone can upload anything, things do get through.

      2. Ciaran

        Also, I’m not really sure that what is stopping the music industry from making money is people having to log in (Spotify is one click with Facebook) whilst YouTube doesn’t require any log in either

        1. fredwilson

          the dropoff on login/FB/G+is greater than 90%put any kind of wall between the content and the consumer and you will see a huge dropoffthat’s why the youtube and soundcloud model is way better than the spotify/rdio model

          1. Peter

            …just need to build something that bundles with the song and sends of an occasional fraction of bitcoin to the artist while listening…

          2. fredwilson

            do it!

      3. markslater

        not if you talk to the artists fred. a good friend who is a grammy award winning artist told me yesterday that one of his songs “days go by. he said it was played 763,420 times on pandora, and he was paid $5.87.he makes his living flying to all corners of the earth headlining big EDM shows, but one half of his living has now literally disappeared.

        1. JamesHRH

          That is how it is going to be.

        2. Dave W Baldwin

          Down vote is for situation.

      4. ShanaC

        I think the monetization layer idea is going to be really brilliant long term and may kill parts of the itunes hedgmony

        1. fredwilson

          i sure hope so

  5. JamesHRH

    First Arctic Monkeys track is good.Could not get into anything else I sampled. We are on different wavelengths musically.

    1. fredwilson

      i suspect that is a good thing. if all of us liked the same thing that would be bad for most artists and would make the world a boring place

      1. JamesHRH


  6. pointsnfigures

    I started messing around with Soundcloud late this year and post a song to Tumblr each day. It’s nice. It’s nice to sit and listen to music. We don’t pay up for satellite radio in the car, and I am rarely commuting in it. We don’t have a “stereo” anymore, so my computer and iPod is my entertainment when it comes to music. It’s a nice service, and I don’t care if the music is pirated or not. Just like to hear it. If I really like the song I go to iTunes and buy it.

    1. LE

      Growing up the four things I remember were stereo, mini bike, playboy, car. [1]When you parents went out that was when you could blast the stereo.[1] Could be used as a password.

  7. JimHirshfield

    I’ll check these tracks out, thanks. New music discovery is fun!On the other hand, I’m curious if you still listen to any music that you loved when you were in your teens, twenties? Do you find that you move on and are always listening to music created within the last few years?

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t go back and listen to it. but when it comes on, i always enjoy it. the only music of my youth that i occasionally put on are the stones and the beatles. i also love the four records that stevie wonder put out in the early 70s.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Love it. One of my faves: Stevie’s “As”.Re The Stones, I found this story about how “Street Fighting Man” was written to be fascinating! Incredible that the acoustic guitar was recorded on one of those original portable tape players.

        1. markslater

          yes – mike scott of the waterboys. legend.

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            God, I loved the Waterboys.

      2. falicon

        My dog’s name is Rigby…my last two were Abby and Penny…even though I don’t listen to them as much as I once did…the Beatles still seep into all parts of my life 🙂

  8. Brandon Burns

    I think we’re music twins.

    1. fredwilson

      excellent. what did i miss?

      1. Brandon Burns

        Lorde! Your Soundcloud breakout star!Aside from her obvious hit, I’m a fan of White Teeth Teens and Buzzcut Season.

        1. fredwilson

          i never got into Lorde. maybe i should try. i have an issue with mega stars. it’s kneejerk and i should get over it.

          1. Brandon Burns

            i guess i won’t tell you about my favorite tracks on the new beyoncé album. :-)jokes aside, Lorde is the accidental anti-mega star, with a nice voice, poetry-esque writing, and a crazy good ear for off-beat yet listenable. allow yourself a toe in the water! i’d start with White Teeth Teens, by far my fav track on the album.

          2. fredwilson

            will doi heard the beyonce record last night at Perla. i liked the song she does with JayZ

          3. JamesHRH

            I got a rude awakening from Eminem’s new single (which is OK). I thought Rihanna was eye-candy. Oops. Pipes.

          4. JamesHRH

            I couldn’t agree with you more and I will spare you the reasons why.Lorde’s got skills, so does Katy Perry (huge voice). Those are examples from Hits 1 (pretty constant choice from the passengers in my truck).I will say this: I had a HS friend who was a music maven. Once a year he would REALLY be into an album…until it charted. Then he was out.Seriously, its not about the music if who else listens to it changes your mind.

  9. Mike

    I’m trying to show an entrepreneur the table of contents of MBA Mondays but I’m getting a 502 gateway error. http://mba-mondays.pandamia…I wanted to make sure you knew about it. Also, is any giving mechanism set up yet for your High School coding project? How is the Chess team doing? Thanks. Happy Holidays.

    1. John Revay

      I sent Fred a note on Pandamian a week or so ago. It is possible that they are no longer in business.It sounded like Fred was aware of the issue…but commented that it was on a to do list

      1. Mike

        Thanks! Insights too valuable to disappear.

    2. fredwilson

      yeah, i know. i need to find a better solution for that. it’s on my list but not high enough on it.

    1. falicon

      Not new this year (but new to me this year), but I think you might like this one too:

      1. Cam MacRae

        You’re right. Chill vibe for such a serious tune.

    2. fredwilson

      ooh. i like cocorosie. thanks!

    1. Cam MacRae

      Awesome album.

    2. fredwilson

      none of the songs i liked on that record are on soundcloud

    3. alec

      One of my favorites!

  10. Cam MacRae

    Ugh. Sin-binned for spam. You’d think I’d earn a disqus whitelist after a couple of thousand comments…e: un-sin-binned.

    1. fredwilson

      very strange. are you sure that’s what happened?

      1. Cam MacRae

        Maybe just a spam checker delay? Definitely not it’s normal snappy self. Links, I reckon.

    2. ShanaC

      we whitelist very ad hoc only when we see situations like yours….

    3. jason wright

      does disqus have a brand loyalty scheme?

  11. William Mougayar

    These are the artists that stuck with me in 2013; some old, some new.Lana Del Rey, Shy’M, Amy Mcdonald, Of Monsters and Men, Nadeah, Paloma Faith, Manu Chao, Caro Emerald, Breakbot, GoTan Project, etc.

  12. RodGM

    Great post Fred!

  13. dgay07

    Artic Monkeys AM is definitely one of my favorite albums of the year. Had a great experience with my 5 year old one day. He was sulking in the back of the car for some reason I wasn’t able to get him to communicate. So I put on “Snap Out of It,” turned it up loud and started singing it. He started laughing and to this day I will hear him singing the chorus to himself around the house. Great album!

    1. fredwilson

      nice move

  14. Rohan

    My music thanks go to Apple for iTunes Radio.. I love what they’ve done with it. Great recommendation algorithms and a fantastic business idea. Buying more music than ever before..!

    1. fredwilson

      never tried it. probably never will.

  15. markslater

    love them arctics.ran the brooklyn half marathon last saturday in driving snow – got through the whole album twice! its was surreal and exhilerating running under the spectacular verazano bridge with the artics on 10!

    1. awaldstein

      Congrats on this run.You’ve been dropping hints of focusing on health and this is a big step.I would push you hard on adding greens through LuLiTonix to your daily regime but they are not in Boston.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      I had that live album on CD 20 years ago. Some good stuff, but not 2013 material.

      1. LE

        Yeah I actually tried to delete.I wonder when headbands and that look will be back in style.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Hopefully never.

          1. LE

            What would be really ironic and annoying would be if hipsters decided to do their eyebrows like union lead John Lewis.

  16. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Thanks for putting this together! The modern mixtape 🙂 Enjoyed the whole thing, esp the Polica stuff, the J.Cole tune, & of course the Jay-Z collab.I hate that I’ve fallen so out of touch with modern music. If it wasn’t for CMJ’s SoundCloud channel, I’d be stuck in 1999 (not coincidentally the year I started my first company, ha!).

  17. Richard

    Edward SharpeMan on Fire

  18. awaldstein

    There should be an avc playlist on Soundcloud for all the musicians in the community.Not I but Charlie Crystle is a good place to start.

  19. Salt Shaker

    Some nice tracks, Fred. One can easily argue that digital production and distribution (e.g., Pro Tools, Soundcloud) has made music far more accessible for aspiring artists than the old-school biz model (e.g. A&R/record label signing/radio playlist). However, IMHO an “open floodgate” has yielded a disproportionately higher % of garbage and a challenge, certainly from a time management standpoint, for listeners to discover good, high quality music. Old school filters were perhaps too restrictive, as many deserving quality artists never got signed, but the “new” paradigm is perhaps an extreme in the other direction. Many serious enthusiasts of music simply don’t engage any more, or do so less frequently, as discovery has become unwieldy and too much of a hassle, while referral services like Pandora are a novelty act.

  20. Camilla C

    great list… several overlaps with my top 2013 list. love that cover of the Drake track! agree that Arctic Monkeys had one of the best albums of the year… would also include Vampire Weekend, Drake, Jay-Z, The National, and HAIM on there. but… what about Arcade Fire?? no love for Reflektor??

    1. fredwilson

      i could not find the songs i like on the arcade fire and vampire weekend records on soundcloud so they aren’t on there

  21. Eddie Wharton

    That cover is a nice find!It’s also hard to ignore Yeezus.

    1. fredwilson

      yeezus did not do it for me

      1. Eddie Wharton

        I had never listened to the Arctic Monkeys until this post. (I know)I got their last album and Do I Wanna Know is my most played song in the last day.Which of their other albums should I get?

        1. fredwilson

          The first one

          1. Eddie Wharton


  22. Peter Vu

    Solid playlist as usual. I hope that in 15-20 years, I’m still voraciously consuming and publishing about new music as you are. Anyhow back to music. I really enjoyed the Arctic Monkeys album too – surprising to think that there is a really a dearth of high quality rock music on the indie/mainstream scene right now compared to a few years ago. I think the most exciting rock bands this year of that ilk were Savages, Foals, Deafheaven (heavy metal + prog rock), Arcade Fire (not a new band), Queens of the Stone Age, etc. Still not a lot and not with consistency.An emergent theme is the great budding crop of young musicians across all genres (country -> Brandi Clark/Kacey Musgraves, electronic->James Blake/Darkside/Burial/Disclosure, hip-hop->Kendrick Lamar/Chance/J.Cole/Earl Sweatshirt, pop->Lorde/Paramore/Sky Ferreira, indie->King Krule/Vampire Weekend, blues/soul->Valerie June). I would argue that some of the older stars are waning, especially Jay-Z and his subpar albums for the past several years. However, McCartney put out a decent album this year alongside the not-often-played Bowie album (his single “Love Is Lost” with James Murphy was great though). San Fermin “Sonsick” is a great song and if you like the female voices of Lucius on there, I think you will enjoy their album Wildewoman or bubbly single “Don’t Just Sit There.” Polica voice/sound is enthralling and I was just as impressed with Justin Vernon’s wonderful Volcano Choir album. And DRAKE! Depending upon the day, Drake or Kanye reign supreme for me this year as auteurs in all their ventures. I would check out the new Beyonce album (Drake has a solid cameo on there on “Mine”) since not listening to an album because they are a megastar is a habit I’ve tried to avoid in the past couple years. Music’s music and I’m glad you’re still keeping up the good work and sharing your good taste with others.

  23. John Revay

    A friend turned me on to White Lies…

  24. Nikhil Nirmel

    Polica is my current favorite artist. Saw her in NYC a few weeks back. She’s kinda awkward live and she has two drummers, which as a drummer and fellow awkward person, makes her so much more endearing to me. Killer voice, unique style, new album rocks, the best.