Peder with a D

[plays well with others]

Starting Back Up

Posted by Peder on 20 October 2008

It’s been a very long time since I have written a post here and it’s time I get back to work.  The move back to Minnesota eroded some of my creative energies, as has my job search in this economy.  So, by way of easing back into the swing of things I want to bring over a few posts from other blogs I had held.  It’ll also be a good way for me to hang on to posts which I like, while consolidating my work into this archive.

I used to maintain a blog on MOG.com, a music-focused blogging platform.  Similar to Last.fm they track the music you played as well, rank it by popularity and put you in touch with people with similar tastes.  Additionally you can attach a song to each post, and that’s where I would often post my musically-inspired muses.

But I was frustrated with the way I perceived they tracked my music.  As opposed to Last.fm, they would document all the music in your library, not just the songs you played.  I felt this left me less control over who knew what music I had and in this tricky day in age, I wasn’t comfortable with that.  So I deleted their software of my computer and canceled my account, but not before copying down some of my favorite posts.

Favorite Post #1 – A Music Lover’s Song – On Dobie Gray’s version of “Drift Away

“I just absolutely love this song.  The bluesy lead, the orchestral background, the bridge with only the bass line and hand clapping … and it’s about how medicinal rock and roll can be.  A classic.

“‘Thanks for the joy that you’ve given me.'”

Black Sabbath's Final Tour!

Favorite Post #2

I Thought I Was Supposed To Be Special!

“I was just talking to my roommates about how concert promoters have a way of hyping a show/band that can make you feel duped afterward.

“Back in 1997 I saw the first OzzFest tour. It was billed as the last time Black Sabbath (w/ Mike Bordin filling in for original drummer Bill Ward) would play. The lineup included Pantera and Marilyn Manson. But then the next year they did it again, complete with the full original Black Sabbath lineup. WTF?

“Flash forward to the spring of 2005. Coachella features Daft Punk closing the first night. The duo hadn’t performed in the States in around 10 years and the vibe beforehand definitely told people to see them while they could. Now Daft Punk seems to perform all over the US.

“Not that they weren’t both great shows, and I’m glad to have seen both bands. But in retrospect the hype just wasn’t real.”

Favorite Post #3 – Do Over: Would Madonna Still Be Famous?

“In an article in Fast Company last month, a Columbia researcher disputed a popular sociology/marketing concept known as the Tipping Point. The tipping point says that a social trend becomes popular only if it’s supported by a group of socially plugged-in individuals called Influencers. These influencers connect to a new product or idea or band early and tell other people about it, influencing their interest, and ultimately, the general popularity of the trend. Seems natural enough, right? Everyone has that one friend that’s just a little more plugged in to new bands or sounds than others.

“Using network simulation software (which in another life is used for predicting the spread of diseases) the guy showed that trends gain critical masses with or without the presence of an Influencer. So this got him thinking, would a past hot trend repeat itself? Rewind back to pre-Madonna 1982, would she rise to the popularity and stardom that she did?

“Collecting 48 songs from unsigned bands, he recruited 14,000 people to listen to and rate them. Some of the participants operated independently, and their top choices were spread pretty evenly among all the choices. But another subset was split into 8 groups where everyone could see everyone else’s choices; where a social influence could influence the rankings. “Word of Mouth” would have its stage.

“And sure enough, differences emerged. In the social groups a small set of songs saw great popularity while others sank to obscurity. But the popular songs weren’t the same among the groups. The most popular for one group would be ranked near the bottom for another. If a song got some early nods, it was going to get a good rank from the group. If not, it could easily sink to obscurity.

“So what does this mean to us, music lovers? How do we operate in a world where song popularity is gained randomly and through blatant groupthink?

“Dunno. Listen to those smart, plugged in friends, I guess. Or don’t!”

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