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October 28, 2011

Daytrotter Unveils New Design, Live Listening

by @thoughtontracks

One day, if there is any justice in this world, Daytrotter will have an entire room at the Smithsonian. I truly believe that Sean Moeller’s contribution to music is every bit as significant as the museum’s non-profit record label Folkways. With each passing day, and subsequent recording, Daytrotter moves closer to cementing itself as a living, breathing library of modern music.

Daytrotter began with a single mission: Record one band a day, every day, then give it away. It sounds so simple, but when one factors in the sheer magnitude of this mission it becomes maddening. At the time of this writing, 1321 artists have stopped by The Horseshack studio. Every post includes original artwork, Moeller’s writing and at least four tracks. When you include multiple appearances, the number of “sessions” grows exponentially. This volume of work is staggering.

The Horseshack is located in the abysmal, albeit convenient, armpit of Illinois that is Rock Island. Part of the Quad Cities, Rock Island is one of a handful of industrial towns straddling the Mississippi River at the Iowa-Illinois border. For decades, the city’s lifeblood has remained Rock Island Arsenal: the largest government-owned weapons manufacturing facility in the United States. Not exactly a hotbed of creativity.

Nonetheless, Moeller’s decision to make the Quad Cities the home of his burgeoning enterprise proved a critical one. Interstates 74, 80, 88 and 280 all converge here, along with nearly a dozen Illinois state highways. Thus creating a hub for travelers headed to every corner of the continent. As such, Daytrotter found itself a welcome stop for bands looking to break up the grueling voyage across the country. While we may not know about the Quad Cities without Daytrotter, we can be certain that we would not know about Daytrotter without the Quad Cities.

Yesterday, the website unrolled its latest redesign. Along with an updated look and more intuitive functionality, Daytrotter announced an exciting new feature: live listening. For a small price, listeners can now stream sessions as they are being recorded. Just when you thought the site couldn’t possibly get any sweeter, it did. For years I have dreamt longingly of a life as a fly on the wall of The Horseshack. Now, that opportunity is mine.

Another change involves subscriptions. Daytrotter’s free downloads will not be available for much longer. The site is moving toward a $2/month subscription fee. This is a small price to pay for 365 artists and 1300+ songs per year. Not to mention, I would rather pay two dollars than have my listening experience interrupted with annoying ads like many other free music services.

For those that have yet to visit Daytrotter, you may think that I am over-selling yet another music blog. I promise you, without a shred of doubt, that my words can not begin to do justice to the greatness that is this musical juggernaut. My only hope is that the site will outlive everyone that stumbles upon this post. Daytrotter is an invaluable institution. To all those whose daily grind makes our enjoyment possible, we are forever indebted. Thank you.

Written by Rob Peoni

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