Apple Music and Others May Get Value From Humans, but at What Cost?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Humans are back in style with technology companies these days as the likes of Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) forgo algorithms and data for good old-fashioned curators.

But while human curators may be trendy, they also add some significant expenses for these companies.

Just today, Apple launched its new music-streaming service, which will offer curated playlists from three DJs -- Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden and Julie Adenuga. The move sets Apple apart from other music-streaming services like Pandora (P) and Spotify, which use only algorithms to present music instead of human DJs. Apple's also adding a human element to its upcoming Apple News product, which will feature news stories from various publications like Quartz and Bloomberg that will be handpicked by Apple editors.

But Apple isn't the only technology company replacing technology with human beings. Facebook and Twitter have both been looking to add a human touch to their newsfeeds. Twitter is hiring an editorial team to comb through all of the site's content and organize tweets in relevant ways. These new hires will be in charge of features like Project Lightning, which will organize tweets by events and breaking news. Facebook's news app Paper has also been employing human editors to sift through the news.

Even some private companies are getting in on human curation, with Snapchat hiring content analysts to comb through snaps.

Adding a human element makes it easier for these media companies to take a lot of content and turn it into something valuable for users. A consumer who eyes Twitter for the first time may be overwhelmed by the possibilities and the surplus of content, but with Project Lightning, that consumer may have an easier time navigating the site.

Human curators also solve issues that come along with algorithms, like when Facebook's automated "Year in Review" surfaced some unwanted photos of lost loved ones for certain users. Having a human review this content instead of a machine could prevent these mishaps.

Plus there's the celebrity element in certain instances. If Apple were to get Beyonce to curate a playlist, for example, that would certainly be appealing for a number of consumers.

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