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What should I listen to?

March 31, 2010

In an interview with Music Think Tank yesterday, Dave Kusek expertly summed up the changing state of the music industry when he said “Knowing what to listen to is more important than having it in your collection.  That is becoming more true every day.”  Dave’s kind of a guru in this space and authored The Future of Music which is very relevant to anyone interested in these topics.

As cloud based streaming models slowly become ubiquitous, music will no longer be a scare commodity.  When you have 10 million+ tracks available instantly at your finger tips, time becomes the true scarce resource for music fans.  How do you figure out what to listen to with that much choice?  Lot’s of smart people and companies are already trying to solve that problem.   Most people won’t or wouldn’t like to admit it, but we like to be told what to listen to or what’s cool.  That’s true for both the soccer mom listening to Celine Dion in her minivan and the most devout Pitchfork music snobs.  The avenues for discovery music might be different, but people still take cues on what to listen to from their friends, the press, and even subconsciously from background music.  Don’t be a snob and tell me that you are original and only like bands that are “off the radar.”  And please don’t tell me that you “discovered” some new band in Brooklyn.  We all develop tastes from social cues, some are just more obvious or overt than others.

So what to listen to?  If I had that answer I would be building a company right now and not blogging.  I do think that MOG is doing the best job at this right now.  They cleverly blended social networking functionality into their streaming music service.  They’re not trying to become a full blown social network and steal attention from Facebook (which would be a mistake) but instead just rely on social networking’s ability to recommend content from trusted peers.  They blend these social networking features with more sophisticated algorithm based suggestion, and traditional editorial recommendations.  I think they are right on in structuring their music recommendation wing as a blend of different services.  Also, the music streaming service itself is pretty great as well.  Thinking I might go ahead sign up once they offer a mobile app.  Check it out: MOG – 3 day trial

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