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40-Something Dude Asks for Music Recommendation, Redditors Point to the Algorithms

6 Jun 2015 2:14pm, by

Chris Dancy pointed this out on Twitter.

Here’s a sample of what people had to say:

I’ll go against the grain and say the biggest thing you’re missing isn’t some artist or genre but the medium in which you can discover good music. I have no idea what your taste is and knowing nothing about you I can’t recommend any artist but what I can do is recommend apps like to pandora and spotify. The biggest thing to hit the music industry in the past decade isnt some up and coming artist but the means in which we discover them. Music is more accessible than ever and it’s just waiting for you to discover something you like.

Pretty much all the replies came back with some “service recommendation,” which tells you something. These services all use sophisticated algorithms to recommend music, and you know what? They work.

Music services tweak their algorithms so we don’t bother even recommending music any more.

Read the Spotify Labs blog and it’s pretty apparent. Spotify launched its web API about six months ago. It now has 40 endpoints. Check back a year from now and my guess is there will be double or more endpoints they are pinging.

The post is for the developer who wants to build an app using data from the Spotify service. APIs define these services. The more they’re utilized, the more the services can analyze to make better recommendations. As more developers enter the world, expect more complex systems to discover things that a human just can’t do with their single, human brains.

Additonally, lesser human recommendations require application-centric infrastructures that, increasingly, machines are best left to manage. Just look at Soundcloud’s Prometheus service, and you will get the picture.

What to say about this? Humans are still here, but choose to leave the music recommendations to the algorithms. We’re just nodes for giving the services our data.

That’s not entirely true, though. All Songs Considered is one of my favorite music podcasts. They add a nice music touch, but I wonder how their choices are affected by the algorithms like our 40-something dude is using to discover the music he really loves.

Dancy, who is more connected than anybody, has a deeper perspective. Connecting himself with APIs and sensors has made his life better. He controls it. Here’s one of his talks, which does a decent job of providing context to the complexities that comes with human and machine intelligence capabilities.

Feature image via Flickr Creative Commons.


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