Seamus K - Irish tech industry expat living in Sweden.

Day: 31 July 2018

Training Spotify

I love Spotify. After a few years dabbling with the nightmare that is iTunes it has me back listening to music again. And as a middle aged man (there I admitted it), I can use it to learn about new music as well. Well mostly.

Spotify’s recommendations should help me find new stuff that is similar to what I like. It seems to be able to filter out the fact that the kids have been using my profile to listen to what ever kid friendly chart music they like. But recently my weekly mix has been a little skewed I suppose you would say.

I can understand how it is sending me loads of 60’s and 70’s rock. A little while back I put together a play list of music from that era and it may have thought I was obsessed with it. But where the feck did the Dutch folk music come from? Its getting better, but at one stage one third of what I was being suggested was gutteral, consonant choked, crooning from the land of polders. This cannot stand.

There isn’t a process for purging your spotify listening history (definite feature need there). So instead I am engaged in the process of trying to retrain their algorithms. That is sort of fun itself. I immediately dislike any Dutch folk music, as well as the artist responsible. I am skipping over 70’s rock when the track is listed (I am told Spotify weights your perception of a song if you listen to more than 30 seconds of it). And I take a little time every day to listen to very different stuff that I like, but might not have listened to as much recently – like trance music. That alone has been good, as I reconnect with other music.

But it is interesting to contrast this with how you would do this with a friend. The ultimate aim of these assistants is to mimic and be as seamless as dealing with humans. Like as if you had a friend who was a DJ who was engaged full time in finding music for you to listen to, er…

But such a friend would only need a quick word to get the hint that if they ever play you Dutch folk music again then you will pour treacle over their (metaphorical) mixing tables. With the machines the process is slower, more incremental. For now, the personal DJ is better. If I had one of course.



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