The End of Music Genres

I’ve been really liking this song lately

Velvet Underground – ‘Pale Blue Eyes’

I feel slightly guilty about this, since I only discovered this song recently, on a mixtape by a poppy Swedish band. I was aware of the existence of the Velvet Underground, obviously, but I only took the time to listen to them when a contemporary band packaged and stamped them with its approval.

When it comes to aesthetic taste, I’m basically the bridge and tunnel crowd. The Beatles were piped in by my parents. Astral Weeks was a ‘shut up and listen to this’ imperative from a friend.  Leonard Cohen was imported by my older brother, possibly by force.

I know there are a million technologies for recommending music, but I haven’t found any that actually stick. Services like Pandora, Genius and Last.fm seem to base their algorithms on genre. If you like The White Stripes, you obviously like the Sex Pistols!

But I don’t think most people operate like this anymore. Remember when part of getting to know someone was asking them ‘what kind of music do you like?’ And they would actually have an answer! ‘I like grunge’ or some such.

I can’t imagine a more meaningless question now. With the ability to carry 3,000 songs with you on your morning jog came the ability to carry a dozen genres. No one’s iPod is exclusively pop, or hip-hop, or rock. Hell, those terms barely mean anything anymore because they’ve fractured into a million subgenres.

Anyway, alls I’m saying is that I need a music-recommending algorithm that acts like a pushy friend, rather than a helpful computer. If you like the Velvet Underground, it will say handing me a mixtape, you obviously like Korn.

2 Comments

Filed under Music, Personal

2 responses to “The End of Music Genres

  1. Algorithm? Go human. In my view, a competent radio DJ can’t be beaten. Like John Peel, for instance. Luckily, there’s a handful of his followers who run their own station at dandelionradio.com. What I particularly like about that station is its eclecticism. And if it does not fit in your taste, there are more human-run radios on the net. Just a thought.

  2. You should exclusively listen to music people post about on Facebook………

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