Business Matters: f8 Showed That the Future of Sharing is Both Personal and Algorithmic
Business Matters: f8 Showed That the Future of Sharing is Both Personal and Algorithmic

f8 Showed That the Future of Sharing is Both Personal and Algorithmic
-- Thursday's f8 conference highlighted the role personal relationships have in the discovery of everything from food to movies to music. It's almost as if the algorithm is dead ... except that it's not.

The conversation this week has been all about sharing and personal relationships. Alexa Andrzejewski, the founder of social app Foodspotting - which was a focal point of the f8 keynote - explained that personal relationships are vital to her business. "People don't trust algorithms ... Remember that people don't care about your fancy algorithm. They care about their friends."

Well, yes and no. What works for food recommendations may be different than what works with music. In any case, people love to share what they're listening to at a point in time, and those shares carry weight with their friends. Perhaps a boilerplate share won't mean as much as an insightful, personal Facebook post about a song, but shares do indeed carry weight.

But make no mistake, a good deal of music discovery will come from algorithms. Those discoveries are then shared with social networks. The recipient of a share doesn't need to be concerned about the genesis of the discovery - even though a trusted personal recommendation can be just one degree of separation away from an algorithm. For example, a song heard through Spotify's artist radio feature can be shared on Facebook: a personal share by way of a computer-aided discovery. Songs shared on Slacker and iHeartRadio, two services that announced integrations with Facebook on Thursday, are based at least in part on algorithms.

Algorithms have already played a vital role in some businesses. The most famous algorithm in the media world belongs to Netflix. The company has held contests to pay large sums - the $1 million Netflix Prize - to anybody who could improve its results of its collaborative filtering algorithm. Netflix has used its excellent algorithm to help people find videos they are likely to enjoy, which has helped it build a market-leading video streaming business. Music's leading purveyor of the algorithm is Pandora. Its personalized Internet radio service couldn't be personalized without computer-generated playlists. Both Netflix and Pandora allow for sharing on social networks but to date have done pretty well, to say the least, using algorithms. ( The Guardian)

Don't miss Billboard's FutureSound Conference, taking place November 17-18 at Terra in San Francisco. FutureSound will feature keynotes from the top minds in investment, technology and music today; presentations that will offer specific solutions structured around answering the most pressing questions; and workshops.

Cory Brown Puts the Kibosh on Absolutely Kosher
-- 2011 is a tough time for big labels with big salaries, but indie labels with only one full-time employee can have problems, too. After 13 years of business, Berkeley, CA-based Absolutely Kosher Records will stop putting out new releases. Founder and owner Cory Brown tells the SF Weekly the label's fortunes have fallen so far that he is "left with no choice." "Hard Times," the October 11 release by Himilayan Bear, will be its last, although Brown is leaving open the possibility that Absolutely Kosher could once again put out new releases after its debs are repaid.

Piracy gets a special nod from Brown, but he doesn't lament all things digital. "iTunes has yielded more money for me than any record store or service ever. They've kept us in business, I would say, for the last few years."

Most interesting, however, were Brown's thoughts on getting his acts into the music community's discourse. That shouldn't be too difficult for a label that has put out releases by the Wrens, Mountain Goats and Xiu Xiu. But even though music blogs theoretically have the ability to give voice to artists of all shapes, sizes and genres, Brown says the blogosphere isn't as diverse as one might think.

"There's more variety for more people to find stuff [with blogs], but that had a really strange effect on consensus," he says. "There's an incredibly tight consensus on a small group of records, and then very little consensus on the rest. So it's great if you're Neon Indian or somebody like that ... But if you're not, it becomes exponentially more difficult."

Agreed. This is a trend I noticed in music blogs long ago. There is a tendency for blogs to form cliques and gather around the same, small groups of artists. Once that happens, the music blogosphere becomes an echo chamber that can drown out the noise being made by other acts. (SF Weekly)

Google+ Has 43 Million-Plus Users, According to's Paul Allen
-- Google+, Google's new social network, has 43 million registered users, according to one estimate by Paul Allen, the founder of Allen uses the frequency of uncommon surnames to arrive at his estimate. His estimate for Google+ registered users (not active users, mind you) is 43.4 million for September 22. According to Allen's math, Google+ has been growing well since its launch in July: 1.7 million users on July 4, 4.5 million on July 9, 10 million on July 12 and 28.7 million on September 9. After Google+ opened up registration two days prior to his most recent estimate, the social network grew its number of users by an incredible 30%, according to Allen. (PlusHeadlines)

Pandora Gains Weight
-- Analysts at Morgan Stanley have upgraded Pandora Media (NYSE:P) to "overweight" from "equal-weight." But they lowered their target price on Pandora to $16 from $19. (Street Insider)