8tracks is Keeping Music True to its Roots in an Algorithmic Age

A few days ago 8tracks released an update to their web app that’s pretty awesome. The new recommendation system uses a combination of listener playlist curation and algorithmic recommendations to help people discover new music, but keeps the focus squarely on the playlist creators. This was a really smart move on their part for a few reasons:

  1. It prompts the passive listener to become an active creator, creating deeper engagement with the platform and also giving listeners a feeling of ownership over the product, even if it’s only a small piece.
  2. It involves the playlist creators in the effort to expand data tagging within their music system. 8tracks no longer has to rely on 3rd party tags or internal tagging systems to classify songs/artists, but can continuously grow the amount of tags their algorithmic systems can take advantage of every time a user creates a new playlist.
  3. Pairing this individualized creation with powerful algorithms means more variety, more diversity and more choice for other listeners, which ultimately leads to better recommendations and helps the system feed on itself.
  4. It creates a community around the product and an authenticity that is approachable, unlike the experience you get in iTunes where you only get a glimpse of the polished, branded mega-musician. Allowing the community to repurpose each song/artist/playlist and add their own take to the mix makes the music much more approachable and gets closer to why music is so powerful: because it is such an individual yet simultaneously shared experience.

So, props to the 8tracks team. Well played! (Sorry…I had to…)

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Creating bits, bobs, & big ideas. Product @ Attentive, Amazon, ARTA, Rent the Runway & Birchbox. Founder @ WorkZeit

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Kelsey Conophy

Kelsey Conophy

Creating bits, bobs, & big ideas. Product @ Attentive, Amazon, ARTA, Rent the Runway & Birchbox. Founder @ WorkZeit

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