Music is…a fundamental way of expressing our humanity, and it is often our best medicine — Oliver Sacks.
If you Google “the power of music” it takes an 8th of a second to come up with more than 4 billion results. There is an overwhelming amount of literature and research on the benefits of music for our mental health and wellbeing. The search also surfaces a plentitude of great quotes like this one from William Shakespeare who said: “music can raze out the written troubles of the brain”.
Today more and more people are turning to music as a way to deal with the stresses of their modern digitally-driven lives. For many of us, music listening is a way to reconnect with ourselves or drown out the noises of our fast-paced lives. Yet, despite the overwhelming evidence, music as a therapy isn’t given the merits it deserves and is still largely considered “alternative” or a “nice to have”. …
Towards the end of 2017 I wrote the medium story “you are what you listen to”. In it, I explained how your music taste says a lot about your personality type.
There are subtleties in songs that dictate why we might like or dislike them, more so, than in any other form of content we consume. This is why it’s particularly hard to define our music taste. For example - we all have guilty pleasure songs we love (see: singing RiRi at the top of your lungs in the shower), but wouldn’t form a part of our usual consumption. …
n. pl. tax·on·o·mies
1. The classification and naming of organisms in an ordered system that is intended to indicate natural relationships, especially evolutionary relationships.
2. The science, laws, or principles of classification.
3. An ordered arrangement of groups or categories: a taxonomy of literary genres.
The tendency to classify and categorise objects is a deeply ingrained aspect of human nature. It is how we make sense of the world. Without this ability, we would soon be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information that we face every day.
With each encounter, we are constantly categorising objects, people, sounds, experiences and interactions. Our brains rely on heuristics or general rules of thumb to simplify the decision-making process, especially in unfamiliar situations. By analysing the limited information available and running this against our mental ‘database’ drawing on previous experiences or things we recognise, our brain is able to make rapid assessments and decisions. Some of these decisions are automatic, requiring minimal cognitive load, like chewing our food or breathing, whilst others require more analysis and effort, like when we are assessing a potentially dangerous situation. …
“Tell me about the music you like and ill tell you what movies you’re into…”
On average we spend 20% of our waking hours listening to music in one form or another. That could be direct or indirect, music from a car passing you buy or background music at your café. Music is everywhere. Music is such an integral part of our lives, that we don’t really stop to think about it anymore. Like breathing, we take it as a given and its not till we stop and focus on it, that we really appreciate its importance.
Researchers have demonstrated that we can make some very accurate assumptions about a persons personality by looking at their listening habits and in turn determine other things they might enjoy like, types of movies, fashion, lifestyle choices and even political tendencies. Generally, these studies have been conducted in the form of a questionnaire and a series of audio clips. However, the moment we are asked about our music taste, our answers might differ from the truth — because when we stop to think about it, we might believe a style of music is our favourite, yet we listen to other styles more often, but in some cases we are embarrassed about your music taste and we might just lie. What I listen to when I’m running on a happy day, is different to what I listen to when I’m angry or upset. My music choice will depend on whether I listen alone or with friends, or wether i’m walking in the park versus travelling on the subway — this is where context is so incredibly important. …
At the start of the new year, word had spread throughout digital music land that music streaming was now the biggest revenue driver for major music labels with more songs streamed in a day than are downloaded in an entire year. As the adoption of music streaming continues to grow exponentially, it seems there’s no stopping the likes of Spotify and Pandora — two of the biggest players in this kingdom.
On the surface, user growth would suggest a company like Spotify is thriving and user engagement would suggest Pandora is still a market leader. Yet the numbers don’t quite add up. How can music streaming adoption be booming and yet two of the most renowned providers in the sphere — Spotify and Pandora have recorded losses of +/-$400 million and $343.2 …
1. the action or process of classifying something according to shared qualities or characteristics.
The Library of Congress in Washington D.C. holds more than 160 million documents — all perfectly catalogued, sorted and labelled. With a reference point like an author’s name, you can find what you are looking for.
When we use our preferred music streaming platform, we would expect a similar thing — name a song or artist and we can find pretty much anything we need. It’s fairly straightforward and not too dissimilar to what we would find at a physical record store.
The problem is that when it comes to music, we generally don’t know what we are looking for. We need recommendations to guide us. Classification gets a bit funny from this point. When we dig a little deeper into classification on streaming platforms, we discover that in reality, it looks a bit more like…
You might think I’m stating the obvious, but it was less than 2 years ago when the majority of the media, investors and even some music execs predicted the demise of music streaming. They argued, there was no way this would be sustainable…
One clear fact remains: none of the large streaming services are profitable — even Spotify with an impressive 40 million paying users.
Like any disruption, it takes time for people to get comfortable with the new medium. …
What if an algorithm could create a better set than a DJ? As we head further into AI and Deep Learning, what was once considered impossible, is now very plausible.
Two years ago I made the hypothesis that the DJ brain could be codified, so that an Algorithm could include nuances in a playlist which was previously only possible by humans.
Putting a list of songs together is relatively straight forward. Selecting a group of songs that fit together perfectly and then playing them in a sequence that has meaning…is a whole different ball game. …
Rap is a gimmick, but I’m for the hip-hop, the culture.
- Method Man
Back in the early 70’s the Bronx was a hell hole. North of Manhattan, the buildings were burning and gang violence on every block set the tone for every day life on this small corner of the earth. 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Bronx, New York certainly seemed like an unlikely place to give birth to one of the most successful genres in the history of recorded music.
Disco was the soundtrack of the New York nightclubs and by the mid 70’s it had taken over the airwaves too. Over in the Bronx, a young Clive Campbell, better known as Kool Herc wanted to play music at his own parties, but he wasn’t to keen on Disco. …
With over 5 million playlists being created or edited every single day, just on Spotify alone — it is safe to say, Playlists are the most popular form of music listening today. Playlists are the mixtape of the 21st century.
Yes, they are a hell of a lot easier to create than a mixtape on those old cassettes. But this ease of use has made us a bit more complacent and we have lost something truly magical about the mixtape. The ending.
The perfect mixtape tells a story. It has a beginning, a middle and also very importantly, an end.
When we created a mixtape — real estate was sparse and we were bound by time (60/90 minutes), so we needed to choose our tracks wisely. We had to be cut-throat with our selection and make sure we put the songs in the right order. A lot of careful planning and editing was required. …