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There's a lot to be said about music suggestions. In a world of Spotify and Apple Music, many services are designed to get us to listen to something new. That's a tall task.

Back in my day (cue 'get off my lawn' yelling) you only learned about new music from the radio or a friend who was listening to something on their walkman. If you heard a song but didn't know who performed it, you had to hope the DJ would say it. I vividly remembering visiting a Sam Goody to ask the associate who sang the song "I saw the sun and it opened up my eyes". The radio is how we also got duped into buying full albums for a single song; the remainder of tracks were generally lackluster.

But no more. In today's day we get algorithms feeding us custom-designed playlists based on what we listen to, what we skip, and what we've told it we like. The idea is it's a personal DJ, but I think it's more of a good friend saying "if you like X, you'll like Y." Pandora, of course, pioneered this concept with its "Music Genome" project. The recommendations were fantastic and I had many stations for different times. The downside of Pandora was the inability to skip songs any time I wanted and also I'd begin to hear repeats after an hour or so. The stations got stale quick.

I pride myself on listening to almost any genre of music. I will give most things a try and I am always looking to branch out to find new things to hear. I love my 90s music, but I've found amazing artists and songs because I've worked to not pigeon-hole myself into a static set of music.

I saw on Apple Music the other day an album from a band called The Maine, which I'd never heard of. It's a self-titled album even though the band has released music for over a decade. It was a recommendation for me and I gave it a shot. Sure enough, I liked it! After two full listens I added it to my library. Of course now I'm getting suggestions to hear other albums of theirs and this will all feed into the "big machine" of suggesting other songs I will enjoy.

There are times when the whole system falls apart, such as when I just want background music for working. It's taken me almost three months for Apple Music to finally stop suggesting lofi music all the time. Listening to something for a week can either be a great influence on the algorithm or wreak havoc on it. So, as always, proceed with caution on hearing new stuff.

No matter how I slice it though, getting introduced to new music automatically is something amazing for someone like myself. It always feels fresh and when I hear a gem of a song, it still excites me. I hope it can excite you too.

I hope you have a great week.


PS: If you're enjoying my work here on TimeMachiner please forward this email to a friend who'd like it too. It helps me grow. Thank you. 😊


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