"I was not a great guitarist, so I sold my 1960 Fender Stratocaster in exchange for a Shure Microphone, made in Chicago, and a flute.” ~ Ian Anderson
Jethro Tull? Never heard of it, so said my 18-year-old self. It wasn’t until I got to Penn State that I knowingly heard a note of their music.
"Flute music? What the fuck is this?”
I was exposed to Tull via lava lamp afternoons with friends, and it didn’t take long for me to jump on board.
Behold – the power of curation.
“Hey, you. Listen to this shit.”
Theoretically, modern media offers artists the ability to reach millions upon millions of listeners every moment of every day on the internet. That’s great in theory, but there is so much competition online that most of it goes unheard.
How much competition? A metric fuckton of it.
There are over 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube each minute: https://www.quora.com/How-much-new-audio-video-content-is-uploaded-to-the-internet-on-a-daily-basis
There are well over 25 billion songs available for purchase on iTunes: http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/1538108/itunes-crosses-25-billion-songs-sold-now-sells-21-million-songs-a-day
Want to bury yourself in stats and shit? Go nuts, though these are slightly dated: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-honigman/100-fascinating-social-me_b_2185281.html
Now that I’m no longer a perpetually stoned college teenager, I need to find new ways to discover new music. The answer for me in 2015 has been the “Discover Weekly” playlist on Spotify.
Eric Davis (fellow JLS artist manager) and I have both marveled at just how on point the recommendations are. This week’s hidden gem was “Getting Ready To Get Down” by the criminally under-appreciated Josh Ritter. There’s a very small chance I would have heard that tune otherwise, and I’m so so glad I did…. So much that we added it to Noble Steed Radio this week.
The genius of Spotify’s data-driven curation model is encapsulated very well here, as compared to a number of other attempts at curation by Apple, Google, Tidal, and the Pandora concept / music genome: http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/30/9416579/spotify-discover-weekly-online-music-curation-interview
Is it working? Ten weeks after launching, Spotify says 1 billion songs have so far been streamed from the automated playlists, which are tailored to each listeners' taste and released every Monday morning. Spotify also said 71 percent of Discover Weekly listeners saved at least one track to their own playlists and 60 percent of users go on to stream at least five of the tracks.
For me, “Discover Weekly” has mostly replaced going to Facebook, or texting trusted friends for recommendations and new music to check out.
One potential criticism: I still haven’t heard much flute music. Maybe because flautists seeking to play “modern jams” on their instrument are calling upon this particular batch of “most downloaded pieces of sheet music for flute”: http://www.flutetunes.com/charts.php
Yeah, that list is a real thing. Don’t look at me, dude. Go flute yourself.