There is a story over at Aeon that talks about studies as to why music gives us pleasure. And after all, science still doesn’t know why. Sure, they have some points but there is nothing objective to reference. Everything in music is subjective.
On Spotify.me, it has the statement “You Are What You Stream”. My recent listening has Motley Crue as my top artist, “Sometimes” from Candlebox as my top track and 90% of my tracks are high tempo with an average beats per minute of 125 for the songs.
So Spotify.me makes a subjective claim that I am high energy, because it couldn’t find any chill music in my listening history, and Spotify would like to know what it’s like living life at 10.
You see, listening to high energy tracks is my chill music. There is nothing better than laying back, closing your eyes and hearing some of the classic Maiden albums wash over the ear drums, or hearing various playlists I’ve put together like best guitar solos or best live songs or various era’s and whatever else comes to mind.
But an AI algorithm cannot give you that, because it needs objective examples to come up with some form of analysis. So even though these companies buy tech companies to make their Discover playlists and everyday playlists better, they fail to grasp how the brain connects the songs together. I could go from “Hey You” from Pink Floyd to “Hollow Years” from Dream Theater to “Try Me” from UFO all because of the guitar solos.
Or I could go from “Landing In London” by Three Doors Down, to “Wanted Dead Or Alive” by Jovi to “Home Sweet Home” by Motley because of the lyrical theme of being on the road and away from the family.
I would go across genres. There could be a song from a death metal band that I like because musically it blows me away, but it doesn’t mean I like death and black metal. But the algorithms believe I do and hammer my Discover playlist with these kind of bands.
Sometimes it’s a mood I am in. When I want to chill, I don’t put on Enya or whatever these algorithms reference as “Chill”. I put on hard rock and metal music.
In a week’s worth of listening, I would have so many bands and styles in there. And no AI algorithm can come up with those human emotions. Maybe in 20 years’ time or then again maybe never.
If you want to read a long article about why it’s hard to know why music gives us pleasure. Here it is.
I’m just gonna chill with my Dio playlist that covers his Rainbow, Sabbath and solo output. It’s a shame that Spotify Australia doesn’t have the Heaven and Hell release.