Spotify has been in the news a lot lately and when it hits the news its always for the wrong reasons.
I can tell ya that no one in Australia gives a crap about Joe Rogan and the Neil Young/Joni Mitchell drama. The majority of the country here doesn’t even know or care who Rogan is. And for Young pulling his catalogue of songs from the service, he’s cut his income by 60%. Maybe it’s a North American issue as Young’s reach in Australia is minimal unless he had a crossover song which became mainstream like “Rockin In The Free World” and “Hey Hey My My”.
Young can take this stance as well. You see, he hasn’t sold his rights to investment firms and hedge funds, so he’s entitled to do what he wants with his music, whereas the artists who sold their rights and took the money are silent. Because they have to be. There are too many players on their rights.
And the news cycle is fast. What was trending last week, disappears after 24 hours and I’m probably the only one writing about this a week later.
But this post is not about Neil Young or Rogan. It’s about Spotify.
It’s about the algorithms from digital services.
We’ve come a long way since Apple release the iPod in October 2001.
While the algorithms might have been cool at the start, all they do now is recommend more of the same.
It looks like the coders behind em, have gone to various lists and Wikipedia pages across the internet and used those lists to create their algorithms.
For example, Google, “Great Guitar Solos” and multiple lists come up. The Spotify coder would then take that list and use the artists in the lists for a playlist. In other words, its basic dumb coding.
When I want to hear Guitar Solos like “Comfortably Numb” from Pink Floyd and Dave Gilmour, I want an algorithm that uses the emotion of that solo to find me other emotive solos like it from artists I don’t know and know.
Like “Try Me” from UFO and the great Michael Schenker. Or “Angel Of Mercy” from Black Label Society and Zakk Wylde as the guitarist. And it would be cool if its evolving, bringing in something different, like the “Live at Budokan” version of “Hollow Tears” from Dream Theater and John Petrucci. And the next time I go to it, the list is different, because it’s trying to recommend something cool and new and different.
But the algorithms just look at my past listening habits and mirror those habits back at me. And I’m not finding anything cool from em.
I’ve gone back to the old school way of getting recommendations from friends and other bloggers, reading reviews and making my own decisions on whether to check something out or from artists themselves who mention an act or band that’s blown em away.
And artificial intelligence can automate a lot of this, but it can’t automate the cool and social aspect of being blown away by something sounding so good, because each listeners experience and connection to the music is different. While music is a personal experience, its social in nature. We want to share our experiences, talk about it, watch it live with others, dance to it and put our views out there.
Lift your game Spotify.