Whether you like it or not, you’re going to be hearing a lot about social networking this year. For a supposedly lonely place, the Web has a lot of ways to bring humans together. With very little effort, you can find a like-minded soul. . .or at least someone who shares your feelings and took the time to create a playlist to reflect them.
As noted in the Washington Post, song-sharing (not to be confused with file sharing) is poised to change the music industry:
IMixes — as well as playlists on other services such as Rhapsody, Musicstrands and Soundflavor — are the online cousins of amateur cassette-tape and CD mixes created over the years by countless music collectors as soundtracks for parties and road trips. Many of the playlists focus on a theme — and many of those on a personal one, whether the subject is a lost love, a class reunion, a nasty breakup, duty in Iraq or a new romance.
Consumers don’t trust radio programmers. Not enough variety, not enough information. Station playlists are too limited and decisions about what gets played and what doesn’t get played is subjected to a pseudo-science that seems almost random (for a great example of this, check out Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink for a story about an artist named Kenna).