Fun Friday: Year End Music List

Every year since I started this blog, I’ve shared my favorite music of the year with the AVC readers.

In the early years, I would post different album every day for ten days (or eleven) in the process of putting together a top ten list. I moved away from albums a few years ago because I just don’t listen that way very much anymore.

I’ve moved to SoundCloud playlists and today I’m publishing my Essential Tracks of 2014 playlist here at AVC. It’s also available On SoundCloud and everywhere that SoundCloud is available (your phone, your browser, your Sonos, etc, etc). Enjoy.

#Music#My Music

Comments (Archived):

  1. John Revay

    Thanks for posting, I have tuned in to your top music lists for the last three years…always enjoyed. Still watching for the GothamGal’s related post.

  2. pointsnfigures

    Knicks could have used this to relax before playing the Bulls.

    1. fredwilson

      hey they might be better without Melo right now

      1. pointsnfigures

        might be. aren’t staying very healthy. they play great D, and they play together which is fun to watch.

        1. JamesHRH

          They are 5-23. How much fun can that be?Caught 2 mins of Barkley commentary last night. He basically said that the Triangle only works if you have to double team someone & that Melo doesn’t draw double teams.Couldn’t agree more.Phil & DFish are in “keep getting’ dem checks” mode.They are hopeless.

        2. William Mougayar

          Raptors all the way this year, baby!

          1. pointsnfigures

            I don’t mean to demean the Raptors success, but they have the Knicks, Celtics and Sixers in their division. See you on Monday night in the Windy. (But I will be on a plane out of town)

      2. William Mougayar

        But they put up a good fight losing only by 5 points vs. raptors & bulls this week.

  3. LD Eakman

    Your music selection continues to resonate. Every year you bring me back towards a rap groove. Is it the kids that keep you cool? Or is it NYC? Either way, consider me impressed.

    1. pointsnfigures

      I have tried and tried, but just can’t get into rap…tried hard. it’s rare I find one I like. But I am an N=1, clearly out of touch when it comes to rap.

      1. JamesHRH

        Rap is not really music. Its spoken word performances with musical accompaniment. Leonard Cohen would be a good non-rap comparison.Its non-melodic. Rhythmic, sonic, lots of good stuff in rap. But, there is less in it than many other forms of music.

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        This should do the trick…

      3. awaldstein

        Ever see 8 Mile or even better Hustle & Flow?That’s where I would start. H & F is really a great film that captures it with great music.

        1. Richard

          See Ben Horowitz’ the hard thing about hard things

    2. fredwilson

      an 18 year old son and a 21 year old daughter will do the trick. wait a few years Lindel!

  4. jason wright

    feedback from a distant land.i don’t know how to measure it objectively, but my sense is that the reputation of ‘avc’ (as a ‘brand’, whatever that might mean to anyone) is beginning to suffer a form of dilution, and because you’ve been tending to cite your portfolio investments just a little bit too much recently, especially in the last six months or so. it feels like you’re beginning to game your own blog,… but it is your blog, and so you do as you see fit.that’s all. no big statement.

    1. fredwilson

      so you see this as me pimping soundcloud vs me sharing my favorite music with you?i am sorry if you see it that way. that is not how it was intended at all.

      1. jason wright

        you live your life through your thesis. that’s art.

        1. fredwilson

          Thanks for the tips!

          1. markslater

            ridiculous jab. not worth a response IMO……

          2. jason wright

            then don’t

          3. jason wright


      2. Chimpwithcans

        The sheer engagement you have with your work is hard to identify with sometimes. It must be fantastic for you, and I feed off of it through your blog, but I still find it scary. I think this is possibly what might come off as ‘pimping’? I may be wrong though.

        1. fredwilson

          It is pimping. And a lot of other things too

      3. Salt Shaker

        Don’t see this as pimping at all…but WTF is wrong w/ pimping anyway? It’s not like you’re in the non-profit biz.

      4. sbmiller5

        Maybe it’s the lack of MBA Monday type content? I know I still go back to three or four of your post about options every time we discuss it at the board level. And I have 1-2 posts of yours and Mark Suster’s that I send to new potential employees who don’t know anything about options.I’d agree with the idea that there’s been less education type of content for entrepreneurs lately, but that’s a gut feeling and I don’t read everyday anymore.

        1. Jonathan Lee

          Would you mind sharing the posts you mentioned from Fred and Mark?

      5. Ryan Wright

        Wtf that Jason is trying to convey here. If I share a music link from youtube , does it mean I am pimping youtube here..hell no .#tgif

        1. jason wright

          you have an investment in YouTube? You own stock?

          1. Ryan Wright

            Yes, i own pithy stock in that way of talking about dilution in avc posts, it seems you succumbed to your moron self. I would just say you shake it off with the music options here and chill out, would ya ??

          2. jason wright

            I acknowledge that part of my mix. If not then delusion.

          3. Andrew Kennedy

            i know what you are saying. it’s a vibe, a feeling. i get it.

      6. LE

        What’s truly amazing to me is the fact that people seem to think you are some kind of public trust that doesn’t or shouldn’t have an agenda. Like you are a Pulitzer prize winning newspaper columnist and have some moral obligation to act and be a certain way for the good of all mankind. That you were taught at Columbia school of journalism. Or a politician or a judge who will recuse themselves at the sign of any conflict of interest. Definitely shows a lack of understanding of how the world works.Reminds me of when I was 5 years old and was surprised to find out that the Police were human and also committed crimes. Or when the teachers went out on strike and I thought “wow how can they do that they are teachers here for our good!”

      7. Nick Devane

        Is there even another remotely simple way to share a playable list of music on a blog?

      8. Brian Levine

        I’m not an investor in Soundcloud πŸ˜‰ – However, it’s a great place to share music and many top relevant artists actually release official tracks on it so there’s that…Here’s my top 10 tracks playlist:…Wishing you all Happy Holidays and good vibes for 2015.

        1. fredwilson

          Ooh. Listening now

      9. John Revay

        I have not gone back through the years yet…but my sense was you used different apps along the way year over year, perhaps the particular music app that you were using mostly that year.No surprize that recently the default music app n your life in 2014 was Soundcloud…just head over to Fred’s tumblr site…lots of SC posting this past year.

      10. Richard Nguyen

        or may be you did !!! you let it out, Mr Fred

    2. fredwilson

      and one more thing on this. i am my portfolio. its all the same thing. i go to bed thinking about it and wake up thinking about it. i would blog way more about it than i do but i can’t talk about most of the stuff that is going on in my portfolio.

      1. jason wright

        i understand that. it’s not a criticism. i really do value your blog a lot. it’s taught me so much, and i want ‘avc’ to continue to stand for something that’s ‘better’ than most of what’s out there. it’s a delicate balance between addiction and overdose.

        1. Greg Kieser

          “Its not a criticism”

          1. jason wright

            what? is there more to that?

          2. kidmercury

            you said the blog was “suffering a form of dilution.” any way you slice it, that’s a diss.

          3. fredwilson

            Brutal diss. #respect

          4. LE

            Criticism and diss are two different things.A diss is like “fuck you and the horse your road in on your production schedule sucks”.Criticism is like “I think you are making a mistake by baking to many cookies at 10am when they are sold throughout the day. You should bake some in the afternoon so they will be fresher”.Hey I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we take a poll. People can vote. And then you can change the thing that has worked for you all these years based on a poll? Better yet, do things that are popular, run a popularity contest and go with what the average person thinks you should do.

          5. RichardF

            I don’t think it’s a diss, it’s his perception from what he has been reading but I don’t read it that he was being disrespectful.

          6. jason wright

            “diss” as in dissent? English is only my first language. is that a ‘diss’?

        2. LE

          Of course what you said was criticism. What would you call this if not “criticism”?Criticism:the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes. What you said:but my sense is that the reputation of ‘avc’ (as a ‘brand’, whatever that might mean to anyone) is beginning to suffer a form of dilution, and because you’ve been tending to cite your portfolio investments just a little bit too much recently, especially in the last six months or so. it feels like you’re beginning to game your own blog,… but it is your blog, and so you do as you see fit.

          1. jason wright

            observation.i know what i said, and i stand by it.

      2. Anne Libby

        You’re also your family, CSNYC, and NYC. Happy holidays.

        1. fredwilson

          Yeah. But as my family has moved out and its just joanne and me, work has taken a bigger place in my mind

          1. ShanaC

            Time for a hobby?

      3. jason wright

        “i am my portfolio” – risky.

      4. Jim Peterson

        Not overdone at all. Besides, what you are doing tucks right into the content of the blog anyway.

      5. Gregory Magarshak

        I actually got a sense over the years that you really care about your portfolio companies than many other VCs. Like making it a point never to invest in directly competing companies. It’s kind of like a down-to-earth code of ethics and focus and at least to me that’s the brand of USV. That and the fact that you’re probably the most succesful in NYC at picking winners.Although I agree that in the last year or two it feels like you have been a little more scattered in your focus on new “hot” markets. But maybe because they are so new. Social was obviously profitable but decentralized stuff is less so. And I say this as someone who is building one of the most ambitious projects to decentralize social!

    3. JimHirshfield

      He puts his money where his mouth is.So he’s entitled to put his mouth where his money is.

      1. jason wright

        you work in pr?

        1. JimHirshfield

          I work in truth

          1. kidmercury

            #ohsnap #upvoted

          2. fredwilson


          3. JimHirshfield

            I’m missing the connection. :-/

          4. pointsnfigures

            you work in truth. some people work in other languages… kids might say I am as talented as this chap. The Rahmfather is a rookie when it comes to colorful language.

          5. jason wright

            “collateral damage” is truth?

    4. Twain Twain

      I see it differently. Lots of investors have really dry, boring blogs where they talk generically about the startup ecosystem and provide disjointed links to their tweets and whatever else across social media.Fred, meanwhile, aggregates everything about himself (what his interests are, his family life, his investments, things that p*** him off, smart stuff other people have said etc etc etc) all in one place and it’s convenient for people who want to know more about him as a…PERSON.He can’t exactly share his iTunes library with a lot of us because we’re not all in the same locale and network as him whereas Soundcloud lets him share whether we’re in Canada or Australia or China.

    5. LE

      AVC is a place where Fred is free to mention his investments but the people who make comments are also free to say “your investment sucks and here’s why” and live to come back another day. And get thanked!What could be better than that? You can’t do that on Hacker News. Why don’t you spend some time there and get a glance at the agenda in that community?

    6. Dale Allyn

      You seem cranky today, Jason (based on this comment and some of your responses which followed). I hope all is well with you.It seems to me AVC has always been a place for Fred to talk about his portfolio and point readers toward the companies and perhaps new features and so forth. This has been an obvious situation, with some fun “non-portfolio” stuff salted in providing lots of opportunity for personal interactions with Fred and other members of the AVC community.To me, it’s naive to think that Fred wouldn’t “pimp” his portfolio brands here, and I’m sure the companies appreciate it and expect it. It’s good for them – potentially providing them with critical feedback – while also giving us updates as to what’s happening with certain services.I certainly wouldn’t suggest that you’re not entitled to your opinion and feelings about Fred’s blog, but I think we all know that Fred is passionate about his work and uses his portfolio services as much as possible… and that’s much of what he shares on this blog. Hey, at least it’s not politics today!!Cheers!

      1. jason wright

        perhaps i need to visit the krankenhaus to amend my medication :-)your points are well reasoned. i just have a sense that the balance has shifted a little too much in that direction. it’s not quite as i remember avc when i first stumbled across it.merry christmas.

        1. Dale Allyn

          Merry Christmas to you, too.

        2. Andrew Kennedy

          you are not wrong to bring this up. it’s tricky in that his best posts (in my opinion) is when he’s the hungriest. he didn’t make an investment in 2012 (I think that’s right) and he was putting down a lot of “edge” — i hear you. it ebbs and flows.

  5. William Mougayar

    I am hooked on Paris DJs / Beta Club

    1. fredwilson

      here is their soundcloud. it’s a dream…

      1. William Mougayar

        Thanks. Will listen more from them today in the car. What do you think of the Sam Smith sensation- do your daughters like him?

        1. JimHirshfield

          I’m not the only one (that likes Sam Smith?)

          1. William Mougayar

            You can, Stay with me & Money on my mind.

        2. JamesHRH

          My 12 yo had pretty analytical, practical & worldly approach to pop music discussions.But I am not allowed to critique Sam Smith. At all, about anything.

        3. fredwilson

          Nope. We don’t go much for pop music

          1. Matt Zagaja

            When it comes to pop music, it sounds like someone has…*puts on sunglasses*a blank space.

      2. Matt Zagaja

        Pretty good!

  6. Russell

    Went to see Flying Lotus at the Roundhouse in london. It is an amazing venue, formerly a train turning station in Camden Town. The show was ‘interesting’ as it consisted of regularly blinding the audience with super powered flood lights. I would add Bombay Bicycle Club to your list, and highly recommend BBC radio 6 DJ Gilles Peterson, and BBC radio 1 DJ Annie Mac #musicalHotWaterBottle #awesome

  7. JimHirshfield

    Song annotations are entertainment in and of themselves. πŸ™‚

    1. fredwilson

      I really enjoy reading them as the song plays

  8. Kevin Donovan

    I’m a fan of some of new albums (Alt-J, Foster the People were both quite nice) but sometimes you need to kick it old school.Do you have a “best of the best” list?

  9. RichardF

    you left Nick Mulvey off the list πŸ˜‰

  10. Twain Twain

    ParisDJs sound like something Amy Winehouse would have released and there is a “Midnight Train to Georgia’ riff in it.

    1. JimHirshfield

      We were debating in the office yesterday whether this was hysterical or jumped the shark. Thoughts?

      1. Andrew Kennedy

        it’s hilarious to me. makes me think they have a lot of time on their hands though.

        1. JimHirshfield

          YES! Much more polished than in years past. They definitely hired some serious pro talent for this one.

          1. LE

            Hah! The exact opposite of what I said.

          2. JimHirshfield

            Yes, I disagree with you more than you disagree with yourself.

          3. LE

            I, for one, am glad that you are filling the man’s shoes while he is MIA.

          4. JimHirshfield

            .Can’t fill those shoes. Can only sound like a rough approximation of something he might have said..JH

          5. karen_e

            He would never say that, though!

          6. JimHirshfield


          7. Anne Libby

            Should someone agree with you more than you agree with yourself?

          8. JimHirshfield


          9. Anne Libby

            Bringing it.

          10. Anne Libby

            Please come back, JLM!

          11. Jim Peterson

            Agree. Can’t everyone kiss and make up?

          12. Anne Libby

            Or at least make up!Also, I miss Donna White.

          13. Donna Brewington White

            Just saw this. Aw… I miss you too!

          14. Andrew Kennedy

            @jlm where you at?

          15. John Revay

            Love the formating .I was meaning to tell him something was screwed up w/ his client.

          16. Andrew Kennedy


        2. LE

          Old saw (is that what it’s called) in advertising is if you don’t have a good idea you make sure to get the CEO in the advertisement as a way of making sure you don’t loose the account to another agency.

        3. LE

          What part was funny to you? Seeing Josh and Howard dress up like jackasses women?

          1. Andrew Kennedy

            building startups is a tough business. mostly a “to the winner goes the spoils” type of business. To see everyone make light of themselves and just say, well, shit, i don’t give a fuck what people think is something i respect. just my take on it. i personally thought the rebecca black one was terrible.

          2. LE

            Except it isn’t. It’s forced conformity. My guess is that if you worked at one of their companies you would have been cajoled into being a lemming enough to go along with the production and be a “good sport”. Peer pressure.Of course Howard and Josh can say no. That’s why the other partners weren’t dressed up as they were – ballerinas.

          3. Andrew Kennedy

            I’d love to get some inside baseball on what it is like for a portfolio company. You are right that it is probably a totally unneeded distraction.

          4. markslater

            very firm specific. i’ll guarantee ours is very different to the next VC..

          5. Donna Brewington White

            I think the contrast between what you know these people are up against and them taking the time to do this silly thing is part of what makes it so meaningful and intensifies the hilarity.

          6. Andrew Kennedy

            to clarify that response; i know you know the business.

      2. pointsnfigures

        Where’d they film it? Detroit?

        1. JimHirshfield

          Likely…From California to the New York islandFrom the red wood forest to the Gulf stream waters

      3. Jonathan Lee

        1 vote for hysterical.

      4. Donna Brewington White

        I don’t think it was jumping the shark. It’s like they went in a new direction — less gimicky. Some other years have been more hilarious, but this one was more meaningful while still being really funny at times.Maybe it was the lyrics. Brilliant. I actually teared up a bit. Not sure that was the intent though. πŸ™‚

    2. LE

      This is almost a total fail. (They have done some good ones in the past.) This isn’t one of them. Josh and Howard look like jackasses. (I hope I was clear enough with that.) Was Josh in Mask and Wig at Penn? Did Howard coach Mask and Wig at Penn? They do that dress up like a women shit. The placement of the company names where you don’t see them unless you glance down is a total fail. [1] If you are engaged in the “action” you almost can’t glance down everything happens so quickly. A 10 year old could have done a better job in imovie with titles. So they go to all this trouble and they don’t even get good exposure for their investments? What’s with that? The cuts are to fast to even see the faces of the team members of many of their investments. Of course someone’s aunt will get a kick out of it. (That was the idea?)Not sure what the objective is with this production. Very clear that the powers at First Round don’t have creative in their blood. If they did they’d realize this is far off the mark. And they would know how to vet and hire a better production company or have people who put together a better video.[1] Noting also that when it first rolls if you stop or start (and while it plays) you don’t see the names of company at all since the youtube play bar covers it up. Oops. Which production company fucked that up?

      1. Donna Brewington White

        The lyrics bring it all home for me.And Josh and Howard being willing to be idiots for the cause paves the way for the portfolio companies doing their part.

  11. Andy Orr

    For those who missed it, there is a great Song Exploder podcast on the second song (Spoon’s Inside Out) on this list —….

  12. JimHirshfield

    I can’t <3 a song, only the whole playlist???

  13. sbmiller5

    I’m not a music snob, but I have two strong opinions about music. One is, it should be listened to via Albums. Artists don’t just put a ton of effort into individual songs, they view the whole albums as one piece of art. I almost exclusively listen to albums in the order that the artists meant for me to consume it.

    1. Salt Shaker

      Agree 100%. Artists sadly have migrated to singles vs. albums cause that’s where the market lies. Many artists complain about low royalty rates and inability to make money via streaming services, which would likely be less of an issue if higher priced LPs were still a primary purchase. Way too much emphasis now on the “hit” track, which stifles creativity, innovation and conceptual thinking. Artists are much more reliant on touring and merch cause they can’t cut it financially via streaming singles and 99 cent downloads. If priced right, I still believe there’s a market for digital LPs (in addition to the current vinyl fad). Bring back the LP.

    2. LE

      listen to albums in the order that the artists meant for me to consume it.I have always had a theory on all of this based on my own observation of what happens when I would listen to an entire album or CD. Hopefully I can explain it.An album typically might have 1 to 3 really good songs but the rest aren’t exactly going to go big on the “Old Grey Whistle Test” [1] In other words if you just listened to them alone for the first time you probably wouldn’t like them that much.However if you play the songs in album order what you sometimes notice is that the song before the song that is the “great” song gets better and better the more you play the album. It’s some kind of mind “anticipation” halo almost like a pavlovian response to knowing that you will like the next song. This also applies to a lesser extent to the song after the great song because since you are emotionally jacked up from the great song you are in a much better mood for the next track. So it will seem better than it really is. Eventually in many cases you end up liking and appreciating many more songs on the album, sometimes every song on the album, as long as you listen to the album in the order that (as you say) the songs were intended. It’s almost as if the music bleeds together in your brain like water thrown on a bounty towel.I’m curious since you listen to albums if you have noticed this as well?[1]… When they got the first pressing of a record they would play it to people they called the old greys-doormen in grey suits. The songs they could remember and whistle, having heard it just once or twice, had passed the old grey whistle test.

    3. Bruce Warila

      someone once said to me: “There’s the art of the symphony; there’s the art of the album; there’s the art of the song. Let the artist decide which organizing principle is best for his or her art.” (I hacked the quote, but hopefully the meaning was conveyed?)

  14. mmmimi.

    music is the voice of the soul.

  15. theschnaz

    It’s back, weeee. Going to dive in soon.This track is from 2013, but I just discovered it so it’s new to me. Good stuff!

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Nice share. Like.

      1. theschnaz

        The album this track is from is really good too!

  16. Sachin Gandhi

    Here is the latest musical hit from India

  17. markslater

    I want to be notified when people i “follow” begin to listen to music – and i want to listen in – or listen along….i then want to be able to message if i want to.its a simple implementation – i receive meta on the content you are consuming and pass that through a listening service API……I cant stand the current discovery implementations out there…..i want real time pull based discovery from peoples who’s tastes i like…..The APP sits in the background and provides a simple feed of the tracks that are being played (and CTAs if nescessary)But i want to functionality to literally only occur at the notification layer – “fred fired up some tunes…..<listen along=””>”do you know of any services that do this?

  18. leigh

    i really loved the soundtrack for Begin Again. I actually i really loved the movie too if you haven’t seen it πŸ™‚

  19. karen_e

    Off topic, day late, dollar short: I really got a lot out of yesterday’s discussion about the Sony hack. The lesson I gleaned from Fred’s mellow initial take was when fear sweeps through, it’s time to turn on the “greed” (or some nicer way of saying it). Go contrarian by taking the emotional pulse of the hordes and then take a 180. You’ll feel better and your investments probably will do well, too.

  20. Bruce Warila

    Although our music tastes are at odds, I love how you promote music. I tell artists that influencers like you are the new radio (associated blog post –…. Here’s a song I am really liking (static and all) –

  21. matthughes

    Very cool playlist Fred, I dig.For any music buffs, I stumbled upon the Song Exploder podcast recently … musicians briefly break down how they produce their music. It’s edited beautifully, really terrific stuff.…Edit: could not get the SoundCloud embed to work.

  22. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Sometimes it continues into the next song. Sometimes it doesn’t. Is that expected behavior?Favs:* Paris DJ’s (excited to be intro’d this one, thank you!)* Caribou – Can’t Do Without You* spoontheband – They Want My Soul* DEJJ – Jean Jacket GirlYour taste in rap is fascinating.

  23. chipjosh

    You listen to more rap & hip-hop than I expected.

    1. mmmimi

      I pegged him for death metal.

  24. JAJones

    ‘I’m like James Brown only white and taller…all I wanna do is Stomp and Holler’. Check out Hard Working Americans – one of my favorite albums this year from start to finish.

  25. Peter Vu

    Solid playlist again. Love the diversity of genres. Caribou and Spoon albums were fantastic. Really nice year again for hip-hop/rap (Freddie Gibbs, iLoveMakonnen, Pusha T-> see new “Lunch Money” song prod. by Kanye, Drake, Isaiah Rashad, Future, etc.) Did you ever listen to the Run The Jewels 2 LP – possibly the best rap album of 2014 and in my top 5/10 overall? Very apropos with Killer Mike’s opinions re: Ferguson / Eric Garner. Another interesting/impactful song in the hip-hop community was Bobby Shmurda’s “Hot N*@#$” as well as its fun, associated “Shmoney Dance”. Excited for Kanye, Drake and Kendrick Lamar’s LPs in 2015.

    1. fredwilson

      My partner Andy thinks Run The Jewels is the record and artist of the year

  26. ShanaC

    Just going to quietly listen

  27. JAJones

    The Spoon album is so good…hadn’t listened to them since Fitted Shirt days. Glad I rediscovered them.

  28. Eric Snyder

    Ohhh Vacationer! I went to high school with the drummer

  29. Conrad Ross Schulman

    alt-J – Left Hand Free #proud

  30. Andrew Kennedy

    rappcats – freddie gibbs && madlib == so dope ——> so awesome

  31. Mark Essel

    trying to get the list to fire up in my app from the mobile page without luck, discovered some bands I love from last years list (Bombino)in app search eventually found it

  32. Sereona Milcic

    How come no post from you today

  33. jmcaddell

    Central PA FTW! Hope all is well, Charlie.

  34. JAJones

    Thanks for the tunes – good stuff

  35. fredwilson

    I was there at one time. Might go back at some point. But most certainly not there right now