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SXSW Music 2016

Infinite Jukebox: The future of curation

It wasn't long ago that a person's music collection was a way — in some cases, a crucial way — for one to define one's self. File sharing made us musical omnivores, but we still had to prioritize what we illegally downloaded and what we chose not to waste our disk space on. Now, with the rise of streaming music, we don't even have to do that — the entire history of recorded music is at our fingertips, provided we have an internet connection. With that self-defining choice now largely taken away from us, how are contemporary music fans carving a space out for themselves in a vast, undifferentiated musical landscape? Or is the idea of a musical identity no longer important to listeners?

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  1. Is there a meaningful psychological difference between streaming an audio file and playing a CD or record or mp3 file?
  2. How has the role of tastemakers changed as music has become more available? How do curators on Spotify or Apple Music wield their influence?
  3. How does streaming revenue (as paltry as it is) determine which artists are most valuable to their labels?



Emily Yoshida, Entertainment Editor, The Verge

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