13 December 2006

The Long Tail

When my friend, Hikmet, told me that Nelly Furtado's brother had been in his college band, I said, "Who's Nelly Furtado?"

He is patient with my deficiency.

The reason I cringe every time I hear the question, "What kind of music do you like?" is because I have very good rhythm but know very little about what kind of music I like.

I just finished Chris Anderson's book, The Long Tail.

Talking about movies, books and music, he promises that, "Increasingly, the mass market is turning into a mass of niches."

He says that people are using a number of filtering devices, such as recommendation lists at Rhapsody, to find their musical niche.

I am excited to hear this although I fear I may have no musical niche to discover. I fear I may have been deaf in a past life.

Now I am grateful for everything I can hear, but any level of sophistication will not come until the next lifetime.

And then something nice happened.

Because my education is in the visual arts, sometimes people ask me what they should be looking for in art.

I tell them to look for something that speaks to them.

If challenged on this approach, that it does not sound 'educated,' I ask them what kind of experience they want to have with art.

You can be moved by something about which you 'know' very little.

So, last month a group of friends was celebrating Hikmet's birthday at a nice bar, when I clearly noticed a song.

This is unusual for me
. I could not understand the words, but the voice and the melody caught my attention.

So I asked who it was. It was John Mayer. I did not know him.

Back at home, I YouTubed every song of his I could find.

Then the Yahoo Music site confirmed that I might have a musical niche afterall.

When I clicked the link to find "similar artists," I saw that I already like five of the 16 musicians:
  • Dave Matthews
  • David Gray
  • Ben Harper
  • Jack Johnson
  • Norah Jones
Unfortunately they do not tell me the name of this niche or I would use it to answer the question, "What kind of music do you like?"

But I am happy to have 11 more musicians to YouTube:
  • Keane
  • Train
  • Five For Fighting
  • Ben Folds Five
  • Ben Folds
  • Guster
  • Gavin DeGraw
  • Jason Mraz
  • Damien Rice
  • Josh Kelley
  • Vertical Horizon
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Blogger Holden said...

Hmmm. Jen, if you like all of those artists, you should probably take a listen to the stream at xpn.org. It's not always my thing because I tend toward the noisier side of music, but WXPN is a local Philadelphia station--from the U. of Pennsylvania-- that has gone a long way in promoting folks like you listed. They're good people and I'm sure they'd welcome a listener or two from Rotterdam.

BTW, welcome back (belatedly) to the blog world. I hadn't checked back in a while and suddenly there were lots of new posts, animation, etc.

Sunday, 17 December, 2006  

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