I’m sick and tired of techies with VC money believing they can solve the music industry’s problems via algorithms and data. It’s a people business. The day human beings are no longer necessary to create memorable tunes is the day I’ll believe these wankers have come up with a reasonable solution to music recommendation.
That’s a problem, what to listen to.
But even more, it’s that there’s SO MUCH MUSIC!
In the dark ages, and that refers to any time in the last century, when you had to buy music to hear it, most people had very little of it. Some, casual users, had essentially none at all. They just listened to the radio. Now everybody with an Internet connection has the history of recorded music at his fingertips. Many are so overloaded that they’ve abandoned new music entirely. It’s kind of like being at an endless 24/7 buffet, with both McDonald’s and every three star Michelin restaurant.
It’s hard to distinguish between the good and the bad and you get so stuffed tasting and testing that your main goal is to escape. (THINK the boffo touring numbers) Everybody who made it in the last century, i.e. the classic rock acts, didn’t have MTV to blow them up, but had to slog it out city by city, station by station.
Yesterday I downloaded one of the most hyped, most prestigious recent albums. It’s interesting that all I looked at were British, where it’s less about flash than substance, but if you check the UK charts, they’re peopled with the same drivel insiders decry in the U.S.
We rally around what’s popular, and the chart hits mean less than ever before, but they’re discussion points, water cooler fodder, and we all want to belong. That’s the yin and yang of today’s culture. You want to know what everybody else does, but you’re also deep into your own niche, and you wonder why the two never cross paths…why the popular isn’t better and the obscure isn’t more popular, but the fluidity in music is akin to the fluidity of wealth in America. Everybody believes it’s easy to go from poor to rich, but statistics tell us otherwise. Furthermore, with the rich taxed at such low rates, they remain rich, like the classic rock artists.