Scriaban image via Wikipedia
That aura of authoritativeness will also distinguish journalistic Web sites from collective-wisdom sites that allow anyone to rate a product. As Denton notes, that model works well if you're buying a computer component, but it's not all that helpful when it comes to evaluating a CD or theatrical production. For that kind of advice, you want someone with knowledge and experience who can judge a work of art thoughtfully and write about it in an interesting way — in other words, a critic. (Tom Jacobs via Arts Journal)
As one who has purchased more than my share of music and more than my share of words about music, I wonder about the future.
Being able to stream millions on tracks on lala, the first play for free and with no advertising, feels like a fundamental change. I've tried every other "collective-wisdom" music site but with mixed results. However, on lala, since there is only the cost of my time, I'm listening to as interesting a set of music as ever. For example, my current list of most frequently played artists on the service includes Frederic Rzewski, David Korevaar, Alexander Scriabin, David Harned Johnson, Arthur Russell, Sarah Cahill, Sir Neville Marriner, Herbie Hancock, and John Cage. This is a good mix of the familiar and the novel.
And I'm satisfying my curiosity with not much effort. Since there's no financial downside to trying off-the-wall classical musicians and material or even the back catalog of say, Britney Spears (not as bad as I imagined), I rely less on criticism as buyer's guide and more just as a source of ideas of things to experience. Even so, tracking blogs like Alex V. Cook's, coupled with following the listening habits of "My People," as lala calls it, gives me enough material to perpetually have new music in my queue, and now my spending on recordings is way down.
I suppose that's all to be expected. The surprise is that I am reading less about music than before. I like to believe I still value intelligent and informative criticism. But rather than read all the mediocre material I used to, I'm spending more time online just listening. Does this mean the celestial jukebox is inherently anti-intellectual? Or does the delivery of the musical written word need to morph into something more user-friendly?
Maybe it will ultimately raise the quality of what we can and should read...
playlist of last 10 artists I listened to on lala.