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A Vinyl Blog For Vinyl People
How streaming is helping thousands find new music

Algorithmic Experiences

There's no hiding from it, the culture of streaming music is massive. You're more likely to get someone flicking through playlists on their phone than you are someone sitting down with vinyl. The vinyl puritans among us will scream heresy, screeching something about a lossless music experience. But let's face it, it's just easier. Artists and Labels alike have managed to not get swamped by the download wave of the late 00's. Instead, they now ride high, surfing the crest as more and more sign up to subscription services like Spotify and Apple Music. This all together has created new opportunities for otherwise forgotten artists, whose work can now break through to the listeners who will appreciate it. They are only unable to do so due to the complex series of algorithms employed by these streaming services to find artists they might like.

HMV Listening Booth

Do you remember how back in the 90's and early 00's you could go into most music stores, browse through the genres you liked, every now and again picking one out and asking the store employees if you could listen to it first. This used to be how many people discovered bands they hadn't tried before. The store would make sure they laid out the music on a genre by genre basis so that you could find other artists similar to the ones you liked, essentially a very simple algorithm. Whereas now, a streaming service like Apple Music will build up a profile of your musical tastes based on what music you have listened to. This profile will then calculate based on the data of your profile, what music you might like, then it will compile a "For You" suggestion of playlists and artists. This is all done through complex algorithms, and it is through these algorithms that we are finding a new way to discover artists you may not have even heard of before.

A text book example of an artist who benefitted massively from these algorithms is Midori Takada. Youtube, like other streaming services, also uses these algorithms. Through these calculations, listeners of ambient and relaxing music have found their way to Midori Takada's album "Through The Looking Glass". Now bear in mind that this album was first released in 1983, it has all but been forgotten. Fast forward to 2017 when the full album was ripped and put on YouTube and amassed 2 million views before it was taken down. Two labels, WRWTFWW and Palto Flats soon capitalised on this sudden popularity and rereleased the album on vinyl and CD. All of this was accomplished through algorithms directing streamers to the rip on YouTube.

If you do stream music, but haven't tried out the playlists that your streaming services make for you, we strongly recommend you give it a try. Who knows, you may find your new favourite album.

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