People have access to vastly more music, video and other entertainment than ten years ago. In the case of music, record companies are releasing twice as many new albums per year. Not only that, but some are ‘rescuing’ old and deleted tracks for release in the digital marketplace.
So how do people find out about all this material? How do they judge what they might like? I’m writing a book that addresses these questions. The title is Net, Blogs and Rock’n’Roll: Who knows what’s next in media and music in the new era of digital discovery and the download culture (the lengthy subtitle may change). It will be published next year by Nicholas Brealey Publishing, UK publishers of John Battelle’s The Search and many other titles on digital enterprise and learning.
Here’s a chapter outline, which comes with all the usual disclaimers about being subject to change.
1 What we like: introduction
An overview of behaviour in listening/viewing/playing, collecting, and discovering digital media. The three pillars of discovery, and the new services that illustrate different means of discovery.
2 New media (r)evolution
How the history, culture and technology of media and music are woven together. The long tail. The ergonomics of listening and viewing: the rise of personalisation and mobile players.
3 Talking ’bout the My generation: active audiences
The engaged audience (active, social, participative). Collecting and curating. How to fill the gaps in our knowledge about these behaviours, and the regulatory, technological and business factors that may affect them.
4 The vibe raters: social dynamics in audiences
The motivations for discovery. Profiling of groups of music listeners, and their different approaches to music discovery. ‘Swarming’ tendencies in ratings. The ecology of media discovery as on-demand sources proliferate.
5 Link, listen, learn: the logic of incidental discovery
Examples of online discovery. The nature of ‘self-service’ learning. The carriers of discovery, including buzz marketing, featuring the example of playlist sharing.
6 Discovery channels: reviewing methods of exploration and learning
Case studies and critiques of recommendation engines, search and on-demand techniques, aggregation and bundling, commentary and documentary.
7 Our tunes: tapping the power of the network
Editors or no editors? User-generated reference material and ratings of content. Linking the network to the off-line world, including physical objects and locations. A ‘whole systems’ view.
8 Discovery culture: future scenarios
Scenarios to illustrate possible futures, from the point of view of both listeners/viewers and industry professionals.
9 Whatever you say we like, that’s what we don’t: implications for different players
How do the use cases for different players dovetail? Can we identify cause and effect?
10 Who knows who’s next: reflection and prognosis
Review of gains and losses. The barriers to progress. International perspectives. What issues are specific to music, and how does the picture for TV, video, games and other digital content compare.
The book will have its own blog, which I’ll link to in the next few weeks. [Update, 18 May 02005: www.netblogsrocknroll.com is now live.]
If you know of any instances of discovery of music or other media, or if you’re professionally involved in any discovery service and willing to be interviewed, please get in touch.