#772 – pharma.fm

AI-generated playlists really won out in the past decade. It's something I've never been able to accept - hated Pandora, hate Spotify recs. With the selection comes an artificial feel to the music itself. Few things inspire more low-level angst in me than robot-selected aesthetic and ambient experiences. It always reminds me that things have gotten worse while appearing nicer and more shiny, well-oiled and efficient. Just under the surface is stinking filth, an ugliness people going about their day don't seem to acknowledge, and therein lies a hopeless feeling.

17 thoughts on “#772 – pharma.fm

  1. Stinking filth and ugliness…. I don't see it, more like a lesser tool for when you don't want to take the trouble to do it yourself.

    1. Hey Da5id, wanna try some Snow Crash?

  2. lol, sounding old and bitter there, meredith. but witch to witch, shit IS whack and you are not alone in noticing it.

  3. You don't HAVE to use Spotify

  4. I feel this commentary

  5. If I liked the music the robot suggested, is that music worth any less than if I had somehow stumbled on it myself.

    1. The robot hardly ever shows me something new though, and there's a lot of music out there the robot will never suggest, for some reason. IDK maybe Spotify is better than Pandora used to be.

      And then there's the playlists that run in stores, which at your standard franchise or chain are generated by whatever combination of algorithms and corporate directives and just king of highlight the stilted social context of commerce and it's undercurrents.

      1. yeah I gotta say I care a ton about the music I listen to, and spotify, despite it's many flaws, does an absolutely mindblowing job of sending me wild and weird music I love with crazy constistency. I spent so many years crawling around the internet for all kinds of music and I still do once in a while but I don't really miss it and my music and my music range is expanding more if anything.

        Before I invested the time in I agreed with you and pandora in particular was never useful in the same way

  6. Also, I know the guy who makes Spotify play lists so it isn't even robot made.

  7. I find a weird satisfaction in the playlists for the radio stations in computer games (GTA, Saints Row, et al), because they are actually human curated, even if they're rarely more than 15 songs per station, and about 6 voice bits. But GTA V had Cara Delavigne as a DJ!

  8. I also don't like or use algorithmic playlists (or timelines on social media) but I don't think they're inherently _bad_ either, and I don't think that things have gotten worse while appearing nicer. I think often we romanticize what we had before and fail to see the good aspects of new innovations until they've been around for quite a while. Progress is jagged and, yes, sometimes there are regressions (see, uh, our current Presidential administration for a big example), but I don't think it's been ALL downhill!

  9. On the first two reads of this page, I thought the guy from panel 3 was behind the counter on panels 5 and 6. Curse brown haired men wearing gray shirts and white coats

  10. I dunno, there's too many bands I discovered thanks to online algorithmic curation for me to ever hate it that much. Especially since most human curators of music I've interacted with tend to be condescending and shitty about my taste. Pandora introduced me to bands that an army of record-store assholes would've sacrificed their bodies to prevent me from discovering.

    1. Well, somewhere there’s a record store or human DJ that’s your kind of asshole. May I recommend WFMU? Their archives at wfmu.org go back 20 years, and their programming has astounded me

    2. I like that I got pointed to bands that were from the same genre or eras that I already liked. You could argue that I could've found better music, but I'd argue that I found more music that I enjoy, and that's good enough for me.

  11. Maybe outing myself as a hipster here, but I don't use pandora or spotify or itunes or youtube mixes. I like music, and I like to appreciate a song on its own merits. The closest I get to having random music played to me is when watching pirate radio with streamers I like on twitch, and when I shuffle every mp3 I have together to put on in the background when writing. While things such as the ability to own and the ability to understand and customize the technology we use have gotten worse, I don't think it's necessary to play along with every facet of modernization.

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