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Algorithms & Disintermediation

Major media companies are relying on “mathematical and computerized statistics to interpret and predict the enormous variability of personal and demographic preferences” which made me think about how this concept specifically applies to the music industry. Fans of singers are “getting access to music straight from the musician” via streaming applications which bypasses the need for record companies. The way people listen, discover, and access music has changed because of algorithms and disintermediation.


In the digital age, programs like Spotify or Pandora will create random playlists using algorithms to match an individual’s taste in music. Everyone listens to their own customized playlists because of the variety of media outlets available. The multiplatforming of music created a society where everybody listened to the same thing. Bands such as the Eagles, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles, became famous and dominated the music industry. Originally, people would come together and circulate different music amongst the group. Doing so resulted in people to discovering new favorite songs based off of what their peers listen to. Although it is difficult to find people who enjoy the same music, seeing their favorite musicians perform live is one element they still have in common.


Artists heavily rely on fans attendance at concerts rather than selling records to make a living. Because of disintermediation, the “need for a producer, a manager, and commercial distributor” are dwindling. Singers do not earn money from streaming sites, so now most of their income comes from concert ticket revenue and profit from merchandise sales. Eventually, independent commercial businesses realized they could increase their profit by hosting music festivals which feature several singers in one location. Events like Soundset, Lollapalooza, and Coachella are some of the most popular music festivals which attract some of the biggest names in the music business today. The ever-changing advancements in technology are shaping the culture of the music industry and consumer’s music preferences.

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