Spotify and other companies hot pursuit to figure you out

Monday morning meditations go something like this. Find the right music to set the mood for the day. This could come in the form of Brian Setzer, Philip Glass, or Kyuss. It’s hard to say what each particular monday will require in terms of listening, as mood is dictated by many factors or simply what one has eaten/drank the night before? The anxiety or general feeling of “here we go again” can be felt among all of those that pass you in the hallways, in traffic, or at a convenience store. While on the job, it’s of course hard to pass the hours with drink or anything else deemed mind altering, due to the always present paranoia that you’ll be found out to be under the influence.

Music becomes the most obvious choice of brain stimulant, in order that the ennui of the day does not dry out ones soul too thoroughly. Spotify affords this instantaneous sampling of music and at times can be overwhelming in it’s sheer breadth of choices. But it seems like going forward, we live in a world where music can be administered as an audio soma tablet. Similar to Aldous Huxley’s view of the many available stimulants available in his book “Brave New World”. Within Spotify there are songs to party to, workout to, focus with, have dinner to, travel with, enjoy holidays to, and everything in-between. Spotify has removed all of the guesswork and has simplified life in a way that your corresponding mood or life’s activity, can be accompanied by the “right” kind of music. But who are the curators that are compiling these playlists? Surely they’re biased and you’re trusting the Spotify brand to a certain extent. But no more digging through your record/cd collection and who has access to this when at work, on the road, or out in nature? This always on approach is here to stay. (no duh you’re probably saying, stating the obvious much) But this is a very recent change, this whole idea of streaming anywhere at anytime, anything. It’s comforting, but feels like listening to music is being forced more into the background of our everyday interfacing with computers. We’re not just hanging around a record player, exchanging glances with lovers and friends, listening to each lyric and guitar solo with bated breathe. Now it’s this accessory that we can wear like a belt or ski cap.

Add to this the exact pill for whatever ails you and our levels of comfort have never been more precise or cushy. Podcasts operate in a similar way, as we’re able to find comedians, philosophers, and musicians that mirror our own beliefs/likes/dislikes. The specificity of culture is really what the 21st century is presenting to us and will continue to present an even more exact model, as the economy becomes much more consumer friendly down to our own DNA and the marketing of products that will benefit us in the future rather than just the present. “Your DNA sequence, lineage, previous cultural influences say that this product will have great use to you in 2 years, so why not give us a down payment for it now…so when it comes out, you’ll be the first to receive it.” I suppose marketing and consumer based products have always revolved around the notion of providing you with something you had not previously realized you needed. (The TV show Shark Tank highlights this notion quite well) It also ties into the data mining that confronts us at every turn, as a definitive profile of our habits, wants, desires, etc. is cultivated as we go to CVS, stop and shop, or purchase something online. Marketing majors and Admen are working tirelessly in order to remove the guesswork from buying product A or B.

It’s more about presenting things to us in a manner that is super personalized, making us feel special and meant for a product. Rather than just said product existing and companies having some kind of blind faith that you’ll discover it on your own. It would seem more advantageous to bring said products to you, based of off what you’ve previously bought and continue to buy. It’s just about weaving these things into your daily digital existence in a subtle and unassuming way, so purchasing them doesn’t feel like a selfish thing but a necessary thing in order to supplement your evolving personality type.


Facebook thought of the day

I’m very fascinated by social networking sites, especially Facebook and Myspace. It’s a phenomenon all to it’s own and I have the great privilege to live through it. (How great I’m not so sure?) But I had this idea surrounding Facebook.

What if all of this recording of data is really two fold in its implications. The first reason, which tends to be more cynical, airs like this. The internet is free to use, unregulated, and open to anyone with a computer – but only for a 15-20 year time period. During this period of time, data mining operations are set up across the world, and we are all being individually mined for later use. Whether it be for that government job interview, promotion, or in case of arrest, used against or for you in the court of law.

The second reason for it, which could tend to be more subconscious on a worldwide consciousness level, sounds something like this. All of this recording of data about ourselves, our pictures, our words of wisdom, quotes, are likes and dislikes, is data that we will thankfully have access to when we are much older. We may run into the much dreaded, but on the rise Alzheimer’s disease. Our family will pull up all our files and they will desperately try to get us to respond to anything from our earlier days. Alzheimer’s is a severe example. I should say any disease or accident that occurs, which impairs memory loss – like a stroke/acute amnesia of some sort?

So of course the glass is half full or half empty with both cases. The paradox of the first being that we have all this online freedom to represent our individuality, yet if its all just being used for market research and how to better take aim at our demographic, what are we sacrificing in the end?

Even through blogging here, I’m realizing that I’m too much of a paranoid cynic at times. Although these ideas really lead to sci-fi novels/movies. Maybe my kids will be entertained by them done the line. We shall see.