In the beginning of episode 5- POWER, Damon Krukowski said,”The marginal-the rejected-the repressed-is of no use at the moment”. I think what Damon Krukowski is trying to say is that compelling corporations like Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, etc have all influence to what we listen to based off algorithms. These mainstream platforms have the influence to what’s pertinent and not pertinent based on weekly listeners on a certain type of genre or song. Damon Krukowski also asked,”But might it not be a key to alternate approaches-to art, to society-to power itself?” I believe what Krukowski means by this is that companies like Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, etc have changed the whole entire scheme of how we choose what type of music we listen to. It’s like a powershift from back in the day in which we the people of society chose art in the form of music in which we listen to and the producers of music catered to “Us” the consumers. Now the big corporations have power over what music genre or songs are old, not viable, and are not recommended to us which gives them control of what we listen to and closes opportunities to old or new genres of music we may have enjoyed listening.
The distinction Krukowski draws between being “surprised” by music and “discovering” music is when he mentions that today is not like back in the days when you could walk into a record store and decide on which record you would like to listen to. You would be able to communicate with others in the store and hear their advocacy on what to listen to.
In Forced Exposure Magazine, their feelings are authentic when it comes to listening to music before endorsing it to consumers. Their owners and employees also listened, and some even wrote about the songs in the inventory. While Spotify uses algorithms to suggest what type of music a person will like.
Krukowski is referring to the old-fashioned way of listening to music and how people used to discover new artists or songs by going to record stores where they could get recommendation from people who have knowledge about music and have strong opinions, or through magazines like Forced exposure. He describes how the digital world is affecting the way people find and listen to music. Throughout this podcast ” Ways of Hearing: Power,” Krukowski explains how powerful corporations have gained control over what we are exposed to.
Although the world is heading toward making everything digital, Krukowski questions the benefit. He wonders if preserving the traditional way of finding music or how we consume things could contribute more toward art and society itself by giving power and control back to consumers who can decide without any influence of big corporations.
Spotify, Pandora and other music streaming services are powerful, and use an algorithm to predict what music we might like. Everything is automatic, arranged, and is impersonal. However, marginalized music allows us to explore our interest by having to navigate as we walk in the record store, we can browse records physically, can surprise ourselves by finding something new. The music we pick becomes personal and spontaneous.
Krukowski admits how he likes going to a record store as he might “discover” something by chance or gain knowledge about music from the people who work there. Now that we get recommendations from Spotify, and other music streaming services, it introduces us to new artists or songs that do not “surprise” us since the music we hear is “similar” to what we are used to listening to. Due to the algorithm, it becomes a loop where we are constantly exposed to familiar music rather than “discovering” different music. When we go to a physical store, we make our own choice and independent decisions. We could end up discovering different music and surprise ourselves.
In Forced Exposure magazine, they are more passionate about music and listen to every song on an album before recommending it to their consumers. They carefully categorize the type of music and write in detail about every album. They leave it up to their consumers what kind of music they might like, but also recommend songs that they think are worth listening to. Based on the album information, music lovers can decide what they want to listen to. On the other hand, Spotify automatically arranges everything for us without us even participating in it. Their algorithm predicts what song we might like based on data, not on an individual listening to and recommending songs.