With over 12 gig of music in my iTunes, I’ve been playing with different approaches to choosing what to listen to. And trying to learn from them, taking a vicarious look at what Generation M may do.
Why? I think I’m straitjacketed, anchored and framed with my own experience, and (whether I want to admit it or not) more set in my ways than I think. But my personal corruption and inertial thought is probably more to do with classic information than multimedia information, so maybe I can stretch myself by using music as the proxy for my “information”, pretend to be Generation M for a short while. (Before my kids throw me out, screaming with laughter and ever-so-slightly embarrassed).
There’s one more reason. Something I remembered from one of Steve Job’s classic And Another Thing sessions. Probably the Panther one, when he suggested they’d been thinking of doing something about search, then realised they’d already solved it, for iTunes. And so to Spotlight.
You don’t have to agree with him. You don’t even have to like Apple. But thinking about how people access music today, how they might do so tomorrow, how they might want to do it the day after tomorrow, surely that’s worth while.
So what can I do today?
- I can pick something out explicitly. Choose a song.
- I can make a bulk selection. Album. Artist. Recently loaded. Recently played. Playlist. Most frequently played.
- I can choose a sequencing rule rather than a selection, ordering the population a particular way. Alphabetical. Number of plays. Even random.
- I can do some of these using someone else’s choices or rules, if they’ll let me. His playlist. Her most frequently played. Our collectively most recently loaded.
- I can even do weird things like order the items by size, select a start point and then play. This is what I’ve been doing recently, puts a slightly different spin on random. It is random, yet I can inspect what’s coming. Choose a start point accordingly.
Something for us to mull over. I haven’t even begun to add collaborative filtering and voting-based refinements and commonsense boolean operations and the heuristics that can be applied. I haven’t really started documenting the mashup mindset hitting enterprise information. Or the impact of mobility. Or of telephony becoming software. All later.
But I know already that I would want to train graduates and new hires using some variant of the playlist and the most frequently played concepts.