Ultimately, it has to happen. Streaming music offers too much freedom, not enough bonding. For bonding out there in the ether you need a human intercessor, a mediator, a priest.
I know what you're thinking and I'm right there with you: the DJ is a talentless hanger-on, a loud-mouthed, patter-prone interloper taking valuable time away from my listening experience, putting his ego out there as a stamp on music that would be great without him.
Yes, all true. But the DJ also serves to get you excited, to focus you and everyone else within earshot on a particular song, a particular artist or style, to build your excitement and sense of a shared, social experience. As the music business shifts to a streaming music social media model, it has no choice but to bring him back, to reestablish that shared, tribal experience.The human element is already creeping back into the algorithms, data mines and drop-down menus of the online streaming music world. Beats Electronics soon-to-be-unveiled streaming music service, Daisy, makes a big deal about hiring musicians, producers and musicologists to establish playlists, much like a DJ would. And Pandora (P) has made the human input of data a cornerstone of its Music Genome Project, a vast, accessible database where each song is categorized by over 400 parameters, making it easier for listeners to find things they will be interested in. Buzzword alert: We are talking human-machine interface. Say it again. Let images of Star Trek: The Next Generation's "Holodeck" roll through your imagination: human-machine interface. Man, that's dope. Just sets all the geek nerve ends a-tingle. Unfortunately, music doesn't work that way. Music is a human-to-human interface no matter how you slice it. It's engrained in our biology as clearly and almost as deeply as sex, almost as deeply as the touch of one person's hand in another. Even when the music has been entirely created by machines (which has been done), it still needs to be selected, framed and presented to listeners by some human being who found it beautiful in the first place. Somebody had to create the machines that made the noise and somebody had to notice that noise was musical and pass it on to us.
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