the following set of links are being posted because i’m sick of seeing them sitting in my bookmarks. they are a little old, because i had big ambitions of writing a longish piece on what i was thinking when i decided to bookmark them. it was going to be a witty and insightful piece, but it’s now painfully obvious that i’m never going to havve time to put my thoughts together in a way that will make me happy. so here’s the abridged version.
a few weeks ago i was rambling along and noticed a salon article on a new breed of music personalization services that appear to begin to deliver on the perpetual dream of actually being able to recommend music that will fit your tastes. what struck my eye was not the recommendation systems themselves, but a paragraph that talked about the relationship between file-sharing schemes and personalization:
“If personalization that works truly has broken through, it’s possible to imagine a future in which obscure bands do get more time in the sun. Because personalized music recommendation technology in combination with file-trading services like Napster or Gnutella could be an amazingly potent brew. Get the recommendation, listen to the tune via Napster, then click a button and buy the CD. Finally, we may be at the verge of escaping the industry-imposed domination of pop pablum, a world in which the only albums you know to buy are the bland Top 40 hits churned out by your local radio station. Speaking optimistically, personalization may turn out to be not just a cheap buzzword that helps Web sites lure that V.C. cash, but the best thing to happen to indie bands and music fans since, well, the Net.”
this is exactly why napster did nothing for me and consequently never used it that often. because i didn’t really want napster. i want an electronic version of my close friends who have always acted as proxies for my musical taste. you know the type of friend i’m talking about. the ones that habitually haunt the obscure sections of vinyl aisles and read magazines you’ve never heard of and somehow can always put on a track that really gets you going.
in any case, napster never worked for me because i couldn’t ever think of a way to efficiently forage for music that i’ve never heard that would interest me. awhile back, i thought about how nice it would be to use playlists as a recommendation mechanism for new music. it’s no big stretch to imagine people voting on playlists in different categories. or perhaps allowing users to construct new playlists by linking to existing playlists and trasparently downloading music on finished playlists. you could then easily develop a google type relevancy search that ranks according to links of links. not that this is a tremendously innovative idea, since people are probably already working on it with opml.
so i’m thinking about playlists and recommendations and the sad state of pop music when i run across a metafilter thread about britney spears’ marketing plan. it’s sad and you can get the basic gist without following links. marketing driven pop pablum.
thoughts are conjealing and i’m really starting to brainstorm about a way to link playlists and filesharing when i happen upon a soapbox post entitled, Napster: It smells of freedom and we are just discovering that smell, that really hits the nail on the head:
“Napster is now the same thing for me. I log on to Napster and I get to peek inside people’s hard drives, people I don’t even know but I get to go and see what music they listen to. I would find the very obvious Dozen Champion Performers and let me tell you I have many of them myself but then I get to see what else they listen to and I would discover their music. The magic of discovery takes over and I get to listen to something I have never heard before. Wow. what a wonderful feeling. The person I downloaded music from becomes my instant friend. I feel connected. I get to be inspired and moved by it.
Napster for me is a shared space of conversation for discovery of muisc. It’s not a vehicle to get free muisc. It’s not an amplification system for Dozen Champion Performer Model. It appears this way but I ask you to dig deeper.”
by now, i’m just reeling. and it’s not just about the idea of imagining the possibilites of working outside the “dozen champion performer model”. i’m metaamazed at how this whole thread in my mind is playing out and how it’s related to blogging. it’s getting difficult to remember a time when i couldn’t be sure that i could get online and imagine a world of possibilities. a world of possibilities constructed instantaneously out of a temporal cacophony of links and ideas made possible by people just taking the time to publish their thoughts to the world.