||We once had the idealistic notion that the internet would connect us, that some kid in a room in Azerbaijan could reach a virtual community distributed from Finland to Florida.|
||We should have recognized this claim, as it has been made about every advance against distance.|
||"Sign of the Dragonhead"
||The stagecoach will unite us.|
||"Hear Me (Alternate Version 2017)"
||Fast shoes will carry you to neighborhoods filled with people who would once have been strangers.|
||"Lions of the Sea"
||Lions of the Sea
||Now you can ride through those same neighborhoods on a Segway, and maybe still not actually know anybody,|
||"(Point Of) No Return"
||and thus it's easy to not notice that those claims have all and repeatedly proved to be true.|
||Our wires and waves have connected us, keep constantly connecting us.|
||"Another Journey Begins"
||A Dark Forgotten Past
||Our mistake was not overestimating technology,|
||Within the Fall
||"Night of Ebon"
||it was underestimating ourselves.|
||Too Close To Touch
||"Before I Cave In"
||We do not become the crowds we walk through.|
||RARE B-Sides 2
||Awareness doesn't eradicate difference.|
||Eat Your Heart Out
||Mind Games 6
||You can cross distances, but the distances remain.|
||Hit The Lights
||And thus, conversely, we fear that machines for distributing culture will inherently homogenize it,|
||but it turns out that most culture is shelf-stable, at least for a while.|
||Tiny Moving Parts
||I spend many of my days making machines that help me hear music I wouldn't otherwise know.|
||I walk through distant bazaars in shoes I bought online.|
||We Were Sharks
||I did not see these bands in basements|
||or the clearings of ancient forests on solstice nights.|
||You used to have to earn what you knew.|
||I didn't earn these things.|
||I mean, maybe I did, myself, because I made these machines, but they don't work just for me.|
||League of Legends
||"As We Fall"
||They are specifically designed to free you from the old rules, from the old authorities and curricula.|
||Terminus: Intense Hybrid Action Music
||Streaming playlists, like airplanes, exist to render tourism routine.|
||"The Ancient Battle"
||Sins of Hyrule
||Writing in The Baffler, Liz Pelly compares Spotify playlists to airport food, and later asserts that the goal of streaming is to turn all music into emotional wallpaper.|
||Reflective (Part 2) 6
||I often feel like The Baffler is more smug than baffling, but obviously The Smuggler doesn't work. It is true, undeniably, that there are restaurants in the airport.|
||It is in the nature of airplane-travel logistics, currently, that miscellaneous crowds of people will end up trapped in a small area and need to be fed.|
||Necessary, Pt. II
||It is not totally necessary to serve miscellaneous crowds of people with food targeted at acceptability to crowds,|
||"Diamonds In My Chest"
||but it's not an unreasonable idea, and it's certainly a lot easier to manage than most practical alternatives.|
||But a music-streaming service, in this metaphor, is not the airport food-court, and not even the airport.|
||The Way Forward
||It is both of those but also the airplanes and also thus the world you can thus reach.|
||No Burial 6
||The bland airport meal is not an argument against traveling.|
||Ashita, Mata +2
||A brand-heavy Spotify playlist of background music is not a war against foreground music.|
||Pelly invokes Muzak, and I think it's obviously and uncontroversially true that the background function Muzak was designed to serve|
||is one of the many acoustic functions Spotify is trying to serve.|
||THE GUERRiLLA BiSH
||There is a whole curated section on Spotify dedicated to Focus, and another dedicated to Chill.|
||"Raimei - Chinese Version"
||And, for that matter, one dedicated to noises you play to help you Sleep.|
||"Tactics Of God Wars(RADIO EDIT)"
||Tactics Of God Wars 3
||But Pelly blames this on algorithms, and algorithms have nothing to do with this,|
||or at least no more to do with this than how The Baffler chooses which articles to publish.|
||The Soft Moon
||People make those playlists of background music, people listen to them. This is a thing some people want, like some people want self-righteous rants against the inevitable uncluttered by any proposed alternative.|
||"Can't Stay Mad"
||I Don't Believe We've Met
||But you don't have to be one of those people if you don't want to.|
||You can look at the bland airport food and think smugly about the fried herring you're going to eat when you get to Stockholm.|
||"Hail to the Hordes"
||Hail to the Hordes +2
||You can leave the airport to eat.|
||30 de Febrero
||This is what the rest of the world is for.|
||Umbra et Imago
||Die Unsterblichen - Das zweite Buch
||It doesn't take algorithms to make Muzak. People can do that.|
||Circle of Dust
||"Dust to Dust"
||Dust to Dust +1
||It doesn't take 80 million songs to play chill noises quietly in your headphones while you type.|
||But a curated collection of background music doesn't mean Spotify doesn't care about foreground music any more than the convenient rack of batteries by the register at Home Depot means they don't care about appliances you have to plug in.|
||But people can't filter 80 million songs specifically for you.|
||People can't lift you in their arms and carry you to Sweden.|
||Airplanes are not a scheme to feed you bland airport food.|
||All the interesting music-recommendation algorithms are, almost by definition, about specialization, not homogenization.|
||Pelly notes, correctly and unavoidably, that the differentiating value of an independent music-streaming service has to be its algorithmic personalized music-discovery,|
||"Blockchain (feat. Born in Flamez)"
||but then spends that part of the article talking about examples that are not algorithmic, not personal, and not intended for music discovery.|
||Ode to Acts of Murder, Dystopia and Suicide
||Algorithms brought me this hoarse, caustic, Dutch theatric-depressive horror music|
||and this bouyant, sparkly Estonian europop|
||In Gedanken 6
||like airplanes have carried me to Amsterdam and Tallinn and Berlin.|
||I've been to the past. The future is better.|
||"Song of Dead Water"
||We've had Muzak for decades, and it hasn't stopped Russians from forming epic folk-metal bands.|
||"El Pozo de Arán"
||La Magia de la Luna
||We've had folk-metal for a while now, too, and it hasn't stopped Saurom from making a jubillant acoustic folk-pop record.|
||El Último Ke Zierre
||"Con la Moral de un Carnaval"
||El Mutante del Barrio Chino
||Do you want airport food, or Spanish punk?|
||Do you want to complain about the airport food, or feel swirling dust carving into you like acid?|
||Do you want to rail against what you think the robots want, or do you want to dance?|
||Do you want to preach to your congregation, or do you want to hear what it sounds like in a different church?|
||If I can listen, as an atheist, to worship anthems, you can find something strange and wonderful to you.|
||I can help. Machines and math can help.|
||"Ef mig langar það"
||You aren't going to "focus" to twitchy Icelandic blip-hop.|
||Line & Circle
||Vicious Folly 5
||The world contains every agony and every fear, but also every joy, and also every complicated thing in between.|
||We had the idea that hearing all the music we make would help us become a better species.|
||Do we feel better? Do you feel better? Did you expect to feel better after eating that?|
||Put down the airport sandwich. Put down the eloquent blog post about airport food and get on the plane. We had the idea that music, in all its assemblies and schemes, is what humans do best. Come up here in the sky and out here in every other place|
||Sonhos & Pesadelos
||where we are right in 80 million confusing and contradictory and triumphant ways.|