Do Music Fans Want LESS Choice Rather Than More?

This comes from Hits Daily Double, a radio industry publication.

We’ve been hearing a lot about “curation” from the Apple Music team, and the word has been picked up across the culture—with the assumption that it basically meant a refined, more human version of tech as media concierge, tailoring itself to your choices.

Beats 1 is quickly demonstrating an interesting fact, however: Music fans are embracing a music delivery system that involves less choice rather than more.

This isn’t a brand-new revelation: Pandora’s one-touch stations, Spotify’s hit-driven playlists and SiriusXM’s adventurous stations follow the example of terrestrial radio in taking the work out of music programming—which a majority of listeners, with plenty of other things to worry about, seem to like.

Music fans are embracing a music delivery system that involves less choice rather than more.

While on-demand media and niche playlists satisfy a certain need, though, they’ve deprived us of the water cooler. What’s missing is the presenter—not merely a DJ, but someone who’s on fire for the music and can put it in context. That combination of energy and knowledge can be infectious, and makes for more music discovery.

The presenter can make listening an event. Just as people talk about the previous night’s HBO show, they are now starting to talk (and email, and tweet) about Beats 1.

Indeed, Beats 1 says you’ll listen to what we play, and you’ll like it. Even if what we play is difficult, or atonal, you’ll probably stick around to hear what’s next. Listening to challenging, confrontational songs is different on the radio than in a playlist—it’s part of a larger whole defined by whichever lunatic is driving the bus, and one wants to know where the bus is going. I’ve listened to more hip-hop and EDM than I normally would, with some nice discoveries as a result, while my hip-hop-obsessed officemate actually heard a rock track she liked.

It wasn’t what we would’ve chosen. And we liked it.

Read the entire article here. (Via Dave)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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