/ What we’re curious about.

Streaming Through Space


By the time you read this, NASA’s Voyager 1 will be about 20 million kilometers away from Earth. On the probe is a gold record with the hopes that it will tell some other civilization that we’re decent folk and they should not come here and harvest us like farm animals.

Here are the tracks:

• Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F
• Java, court gamelan, “Kinds of Flowers”
• Senegal, percussion
• Zaire, Pygmy girls’ initiation song
• Australia, Aborigine songs “Morning Star” and “Devil Bird”
• Mexico, “El Cascabel”
• “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry
• New Guinea, men’s house song
• Japan, shakuhachi, “Tsuru No Sugomori” (“Crane’s Nest”)
• Bach, “Gavotte en rondeaux”
• Mozart, The Magic Flute, Queen of the Night aria, No. 14
• Georgian S.S.R., chorus, “Tchakrulo”
• Peru, panpipes and drum
• “Melancholy Blues,” performed by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven
• Azerbaijan S.S.R., bagpipes
• Stravinsky, Rite of Spring, Sacrificial Dance
• Bach, The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue in C, No. 1
• Beethoven, Fifth Symphony
• Bulgaria, “Izlel je Delyo Hagdutin”
• Navajo Indians, Night Chant
• Holborne, Paueans, Galliards, Almains and Other Short Aeirs, “The Fairie Round”
• Solomon Islands, panpipes
• Peru, wedding song
• China, ch’in, “Flowing Streams”
• India, raga, “Jaat Kahan Ho”
• “Dark Was the Night” by Blind Willie Johnson
• Beethoven, String Quartet No. 13 in B fla

I would argue that “Kind of Blue” by the Miles Davis Quintet should be on there in its entirety, but I’m no rocket scientist. The other tracks make perfect sense. Wide ranges of cultural examples are represented, with heavy emphasis on classical.

The cool thing about music is that the brain does not rationally process it; it just goes straight in. I’m no doctor either, but that’s the gist of it. Music affects our emotions, makes us better thinkers, makes us cry, makes us happy, stirs memories and makes plants grow faster. It’s awesome.

So how do the employees of Curiosity listen to music? In a recent survey of 36 employees we learned these things: 60% of us are between 20 and 35 years old. 22 people prefer to get their music fix through Spotify, and Pandora was a distant second with 6 respondents. iTunes barely made the list, which I find odd. We’re all on Macs, and most of us have iPhones and/or iPods.

When asked why we liked the service that we used, the most common answer was variety. The ability to have curated playlists whether we created them or picked one that fit our tastes or mood. Age didn’t really matter. Neither did gender. While commuting, streaming was also the most popular answer.

The listeners have voted and streaming is the winner. The phone carriers have taken notice too. T-Mobile and AT&T will no longer count streaming music towards customers’ data usage. And rather than lose money, T-Mobile has partnered with Rhapsody, and created a $4 per month plan that streams music with no ads. Rhapsody did not appear anywhere on our survey. So I’m not sure how successful this effort will be.

Not sure where music or the Voyager will be in a year, but that’s where it stands now. And, if you don’t already have it, I encourage you to stream “Kind of Blue.”

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