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Music Curation: The Balance of Man vs. Machine

Music discovery used to be simple. Our favorite radio DJs curated and made recommendations for us. They were tastemakers who introduced us to new artists. Times have changed. Some argue that the advent of collaborative filtering and data mining has made it easier to find and discover artists, while others argue that the removal of the human element has made it harder to find new music to love.

Today, our choices are endless and music is subjective. In the age of data collection, organization and quantification of the world’s music must be discoverable and accessible at all times. How do we best organize this vast amount of subjective material in a meaningful way? What data is needed so that everyone can identify the same composition? What role does the human curator play?

Panelists will explore how man and machine crawl and curate the world’s music to deliver what you want, when you want it, and why the music service that orchestrates this process best, will win.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. How is music quantified in today’s technology-driven world? How does something as subjective as a song transform into binary?
  2. How do we make music recognizable, searchable and discoverable?
  3. What role does the tastemaker or human curator play in the world of music discovery?
  4. How do we catalog the world's music and why is it important?
  5. What are the advantages and drawbacks to machine-generated versus human-generated quantification?



Stephen White, CEO/President, Gracenote

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