Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Article: Finding new music in the algorithm age

Thinking about how people discover new music is fascinating to me.  It’s clear we're on this trajectory towards use of algorithms, but as both a music blogger and a librarian, I relish those non-algorithmic discoveries.  Working at Finders Records in Bowling Green, Ohio was so much fun.  The internet wasn’t nearly as pervasive.  People would physically browse the store alphabetically (albeit with imperfect categories), but we also took a lot of time to present new releases and employee favorites at listening stations and on endcaps.  The best engagement happened through conversations and personal connections.  Over the years I built up trust with folks that when they would walk in the store, I’d hand them an album, and they’d buy it sound-unheard - and would come back and do it again.  

I understand the value of algorithms, but understand we may also lose serendipity and community.  This blog is my little attempt to keep that alive. 

"Personalized recommendations, sponsored playlists, and the dominance of streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music have changed the experience of music discovery for all of us. Whereas magazines, zines, radio, and something called MTV once offered diverse avenues of exploration for music fans, followed by the heyday of music blogs and music piracy websites like Napster, the algorithm now looms over everyone. There is considerable reason to worry about what that means for up-and-coming artists without major label connections, as well as the landscape of popular music as a whole.

But what are the alternatives? Six people working in and around music told The Outline how they actually find out about new music."

"Honestly, I don’t think Spotify and other music discovery algorithms are the way to go. It’s one thing to try to suggest, based on an algorithm, what a person will listen to next. But there’s nothing like that old school discovery of just going through the stacks and either picking something based on the cover art, or picking something based on a single that you like and then going down that rabbit hole. A lot of relationships I’ve built over the years has come from just being in the record store all the time and seeing and knowing the owners and then them coming back saying, ‘Oh well you like this jazz record, you need to check out this other spiritual jazz record.’ That builds genuine relationships with actual people. It’s difficult to do that with a robot. I see why I see companies are doing that, but I ultimately don’t like it because you take the soul out of discovery music."

(Via Finding new music in the algorithm age | The Outline.)

No comments:

Post a Comment