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Bill Radke: Summer travel season is a treat -- if you rarely get to leave town. Not so fun if you travel for a living. Today, we start a series called "Road Warriors." Producer Michael Raphael follows business travelers, who live in airport lounges, generic hotels and stale conference rooms... and they get through it all with the help of their own, private music soundtrack.
We begin our series with the founder and Chief Strategy Officer of the Internet radio site Pandora.com.
Tim Westergren: My name is Tim Westergren. I'm the founder of Pandora. And when I'm on the road, I listen to "Late" by Ben Folds, one of my favorite road songs.
Ben Folds singing "Late": Under some dirty words on a dirty wall, eating take-out by myself, I played the shows, got back in the van, and put the Walkman on...
It's a very contemplative, kind of moody song. Makes me kinda nostalgic. And when I travel, I feel that way generally -- when I'm on planes or trains or when I'm kind of out and about and disconnected from my home, I find that that song is sort of a great soundtrack for me.
Folds: ...And like pathetic stars, the truck stops and the rock club walls, I always knew, you saw them too, but you never will again. It's too late...
Images and things are passing you by, and I think it gives you some distance from your life. And for me, that tends to cause me to think about things sort of more broadly and think back and think forward. And it's often private time, too. I'm mostly alone, sort of alone with my thoughts, so I tend to go there. It's a time when I was composing music actively, I'd write a lot of music.
Folds: ...The songs you wrote got me through a lot, just wanna tell you that. But it's too late...
I started playing music when I was a little kid, very young and pretty much as far as I can remember, it's kind of been a companion for me my entire life. And now it's kind of my life's work, in the context of Pandora. So, it kinda means everything to me. And I think it's a unique art form that seems to be utterly universal, that has no respect for geographic, social-economic barriers or boundaries, and it has an ability to affect everybody in the same powerful way. It's really fun to be kind of playing in that sand box now the way we are.
Folds: ...Peace of mind.
When desperate static beats the silence up, a quiet truth to calm you down. The songs you wrote, got me through a lot, just wanna tell you that, but it's been too late, it's too late, no, don't you know, it's been too late for a long time, it's too late, it's too late, no, don't you know, it's been too late for a long time.
Marketplace's new "Road Warrior" series explores what business travelers listen to out in the field. We want to know what you listen to on your business travels. Send us your playlist, tell us why you chose the songs, and you could be featured on our site.