Random thoughts: Evolving habits

Remember the audio cassette?

Remember the audio cassette?

Being someone who was born in the mid 80s, I still can recall music back in the days in the form of vinyl records, audio cassettes and all that kind of sorts that someone who was born in the last decade would consider museum material.  I was recently thinking that even those of us who have experienced this huge advent of technology in the last 20 years, still give all of this for granted.

Let me put it this way:  Any given day you jump into your car and plug your iPod with the latest songs you purchased on iTunes the day before, from an artist who lives 7,000 km away.  Or even better yet, you plug your smart phone and you just stream your favorite online radio station while you’re driving to wherever you’re going.  Sounds familiar huh?

Of course, it hasn’t always been like this, and more precisely, we know that today’s standards will also be obsolete within a short period of time.  What can we expect from the future? I would love to have Arthur C. Clarke’s vision to glimpse something so futuristic that wouldn’t be feasible to any John Doe today, but that would be completely normal 50 years later (geostationary satellites, anyone?).

I remember that when music recommendation systems were first launched, there was this general feeling that music could also become the next social experience that would change the way we listen to music today.  Services like Last.Fm or Pandora to name just a few.  But to this day I still have my doubts that these kind of services are the definitive answer.  I, for one believe that music can’t be picked up by a mathematical algorithm, because 90% of the time my Last.Fm recommendations turn out to be not something I like (35,000 tracks listened and it still can’t recognize what I like???).

Maybe the channel we use to listen to our music is just half of the answer?  I mean, we merely swapped terrestrial airwaves for internet connection and added some apps in between, but the rest is pretty much the same.

In the meantime, I’m grateful for not having to carry 30+ CDs with me every time I want to listen some music every time I hit the road…


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