(click play to add color to the text) 😉
I was going through my vinyl collection the other day, listening to some old disco and early house stuff and just when I thought that I’ve played some tunes to death, I stumbled upon some really good tracks on the B sides of some of the vinyls.
While digitizing these new gems, I was thinking how much our listening and digging habits have changed. In the early days of vinyl we would normally fall in love with 1-2 tunes from the record and would buy it, regardless of the other “sub par” tunes that came along with it, only to discover later that those “sub par” tracks were actually pretty damn good, but they got overshadowed by the strong first impressions the main tunes left in us.
Now, when we have a slew of new digital releases coming out almost every single hour, this behavior is not very common anymore. And, of course, we do not distinguish between A & B sides in an online store, we just have tracks and we tend to buy each individual track vs. the whole EP. Because – you know – we like only 1 track from the whole release and why should we buy the whole release, right? Well, right, and it’s perfectly right even, only this is where we exclude even the chance of discovering something really great a few days down the road because we didn’t buy the whole EP with all the other “superfluous” tracks that we didn’t care about initially.
Our listening and research habits have changed, or, to be more exact, they are influenced by the medium with which we choose to explore and discover.
This is not a digital vs. analog debate, at this time this debate seems completely irrelevant to me. The choice is there for anyone to pick what works best. And to be fair, the B side serendipity that exists with records has a digital equivalent in the form of algorithmic recommendations of what one might potentially enjoy based on previous purchases, and one cannot deny that this is not a great way for discovering some great new things. Nevertheless, one needs to stop and consider the nature of the algorithm and whether it will steer you only in one direction, rather than suggest something completely random and not typical for you and which you might have only discovered by accident.
Algorithms…something to think about.