Taste Sharing is Driving and Democratizing Culture

December 11, 2007

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Recommendation systems are since Amazons first moves, now more than ten years ago, nothing really new . But recommendation systems are getting better and better. What companies like LastFm and Pandora doing right now, is phenomenal. Their collaborative filters are already on a very high level.
I found last weekend a short report from Gartner and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society (published 2005, so careful: old figures) on consumer taste sharing in the music industry.
The report shows that not only passive recommendation systems, via collaborative filtering, but also the “direct”/”active” taste sharing is very important for the user and has a high impact. Instead of primarily Charts, Djs and music videos shaping how we hear and view music, we have a greater opportunity to hear from each other — creating and posting playlists, commenting on an artists, showing your profile on Last.Fm or MySpace et cetera… These tools allow people to play a greater role in shaping culture, which, in a way perhaps also shapes themselves. Music or taste as a social currency, as a kind of self expression. The report predicts that by 2010 25% of online music store transactions will be driven by consumer to consumer taste sharing. (No idea, how they get this figures)

Again we are just talking about music, but this systems can also work and get as important for video content, news, print content…

What´s the impact on the media industry?

On the one hand it`s nothing more than the good old word of mouth, but more “professional organised” and more effective. On the other hand it`s a kind of democratizing culture. Recommendation systems may diminish the control that traditional tastemakers have had on how we engage music or content.

And everybody in the mass media industry who says “no worries, there always will be some need for a lean backward service”, a tastemaker, is maybe right, but maybe it will not be his mass media content service, it will be perhaps a recommendation system.

Recommendation systems a new kind of media channel?

What does that mean for mass media companies? Radios, TV-stations, music labels?
Are recommendation systems really just a promotion tool? or a challenge? an opponent? a threat?

How important can they get?

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One Response to “Taste Sharing is Driving and Democratizing Culture”


  1. […] are great and very important for media consume in the future (I wrote about it a while ago here and here). Most of the content providers and services in the online world are currently based on concepts […]


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