Decentralization of Taste

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Lucas Gonze of Webjay [1]


Citation

"Where does WebJay fit into the 'P2P system ecosystem', in your opinion?

Lucas: Webjay decentralizes taste. This seemed to me to be the next frontier after decentralized network connectivity was fully colonized by the filesharing people, because the decentralization of network connectivity created more centralization of taste, not less.

The first reason is that you traverse filesharing networks by search -- search-driven navigation relies on memorable identifiers to search for, for an identifier to become memorable requires marketing, and marketing is a tool only available to large centralized entities like major labels. The second reason is that, when demand drives supply as it does on filesharing networks, being known is a condition of becoming more known. The expense to break into this system is currently covered by marketing dollars.

To decentralize taste I needed to break that cycle. I chose to stick strictly to above ground networks because unauthorized material is cleaned out by DMCA requests and lack of bandwidth for consumer ISP accounts. The more marketing dollars are going into an artist, the more DMCA takedowns are issued and the more downloads there are to blow through upload bandwidth. If a rights holder has a problem with a URL, I don't want the URL, so it's convenient that such rights holders will knock down those URLs for me. Everything I do is out in the open because open networks are, for now, naturally inhospitable to centralized taste." (http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/interview_with_1.php)


The New York Times on the New Tastemakers:

" technology is shaking up the hierarchy of tastemakers across popular culture. In music the shift began when unauthorized file-sharing networks like the original Napster allowed fans to snatch up the songs they wanted, instantly and free.

But the field is also full of new guideposts: music blogs and review sites like the hipster darling Pitchfork have gained influence without major corporate backing. And customizable Internet radio services like Pandora, Last.fm, Yahoo’s Launchcast and RealNetworks’ Rhapsody are pointing users to music far beyond the playlists that confine most FM radio broadcasts.

All told, music consumers are increasingly turning away from the traditional gatekeepers and looking instead to one another — to fellow fans, even those they’ve never met — to guide their choices. Before long, wireless Internet connections will let them chatter not only on desktops, but in cars and coffee shops, too. And radio conglomerates and MTV, used to being the most influential voices around, are beginning to wonder how to keep themselves heard." (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/03/arts/music/03leed.html?)


Gartner on the slow death of programmable content

“Gartner Inc., a media analysis company, predicted in a report last year that by 2010, 25 percent of online music retail transactions will be driven by applications that allow fans to compare their tastes and by recommendation engines tracking their preferences. Mike McGuire, a Gartner analyst and co-author of the report, said the emergence of the empowered fan represented “the slow death of programmed content." He added, “Unless and until the D.J.’s and programmers can start realizing that, they’re going to find themselves inexorably pulled further and further apart from their audiences." (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/03/arts/music/03leed.html?)

Examples

Last FM Pandora WebJay