How algorithms destroy personal taste


Taste comes from an amalgamation of sources. It assumes that we’ve dabbled in both good and bad, and actively seek to find new things to recommend.

But in this algorithmic world, taste gets delivered. Whether it’s the next Spotify song or someone to follow on Instagram, we adhere to the machine rather than following our own interests.

Algorithms may save you time but they inhibit the authentic discovery process of sampling. Should we choose to navigate on the basis of originality, we are all well-equipped with own unique perspectives and taste buds.

Say it with me: I enjoy what I enjoy regardless of its potential for receiving likes, going viral, or being found acceptable by an algorithm.

Say it with me: I also do not deny that I am implicated, inexorably, in the Generic Style of my time.

Read Have Algorithms Destroyed Personal Taste?


Good Tips

People pay for curation today, not the content. The content is cheap and mostly free.

Apple just have away a U2’s new album. You can already stream any track you want on Spotify, YouTube, and SoundCloud. Unless you’re reading the Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal, there’s no paywall preventing you from getting free news. Meanwhile, Amazon is pushing for an all you can eat books model as part of their Prime service.

Free content means that what people are really paying for are the quality of recommendations thy get in return. Peer recommendations don’t suffice.. You only want to consume the good stuff that master curators spend the time to find.

What made Songza different than the rest of the music streaming networks was its handpicked, contextual playlists based on time of day. Echo Nest plans to turn Spotify into a recommendation engine. What makes Amazon so good at recommending books is its smart algorithm.

The wisdom of crowds theory that said that the best result is the summary of what everyone is looking for is dead. People don’t want to be manipulated by mainstream culture. The best services will find out what niche genres a person likes and make long-tail recommendations around those. Make the users feel like they found it first.

Content and curation are BFFs. The two go hand in hand. The act of curation gives content it’s true value. People just want to hear about the good stuff and ignore the rest.


Free Music, at Least While It Lasts

The convenience of pushing a button on a handheld device that streams wirelessly to a speaker is always going to trump hunting down a CD with marginally better sound and plopping it into a player.

Always hated CDs, opening them with barricaded shrink wrap, avoiding scratches, and the fact that they took up so much space. The only thing cool about CDs was the album art, which was a miniature version of what came in a Vinyl record.

Steve Jobs killed CDs by disaggregating the format into downloadable singles. He gave the music industry a life-line. I still wonder if Apple would’ve bought Beats of Kobs was alive though. I think he would’ve used his power to renegotiate with the big heads and put Spotify out of business.


Thom Yorke pulls albums from Spotify

“Make no mistake new artists you discover on #Spotify will no[t] get paid. Meanwhile shareholders will shortly being rolling in it. Simples.”

Back to downloads, copies. It’s the only way to respectfully pay for music.

Or this:

iTunes Radio is also going to help drive incremental download sales, which is of course, as Apple tries to extend the life of download sales as long as they can: this affords them the opportunity to do that.


Rdio Bridges the Gap Between the Record Collection and the Cloud

Agreed, Rdio is better designed than Spotify but I’m still looking for the deep cloud catalog. For example, Rdio matched only 1/3 of my iTunes songs.

Most of the music I listen to is still on SoundCloud and not available in streaming format anywhere else.

Unlike teens today, I also like to keep my music which means for every tune I like I want to save a digital file or an MP3. Call me a digital music hoarder or music collector but I just don’t think some of these music platforms will hang around forever and everything must be backed up!

I wish the cloud was fast enough to store my 143 days of listenable music for listening anywhere in the world. Services like Google and Amazon lockers promise mass storage just for music but they’re too damn slow upon upload and playback. Yes, this is also an widescale Internet problem. LTE can still be a tortoise.

My listening behavior is not replicable in the cloud just yet. Unfortunately, I don’t think Apple’s iRadio which sounds more like Pandora, Songza, Last.Fm, etc. is the solve either.

Consumption and listening across devices and multiple platforms is therefore the status quo. One day the entire collection, owned and rented, will be synced.

Pre-iRadio. iTunes will mainstream streaming in the United States to the point it equalizes download revenues.
Pre-iRadio. iTunes will mainstream streaming in the United States to the point it equalizes download revenues.