The Network Rules

It’s about using the network.

I have become absolutely enthralled by Over the Rhine in the last week. As I’ve noted, I have Jeff Holland to thank for this.

Let’s talk about how I got to this point with OtR. You know that I babble incessantly about this idea about the network helping you find music. This is, essentially, how I found OtR.

A couple months ago, I bet Jeff’s wife, Adriene, that she’d like The Normals’ Coming to Life. The bet? If she didn’t like it, I’d buy it from her, postage costs included, and give it to someone else. [That someone else was probably going to be Rick.] I won the bet; she loved the music, and so did Jeff.

Fast forward later on to the release of Andy Osenga’s Souvenirs and Postcards. In the meantime, J&A had bought The Normals’ A Place Where You Belong and Andy’s Photographs. They’d become Osenga-heads. They were stuck in my world now.

I’d read Jeff’s praise for OtR for well over a year, and I finally said, “I think I want to get into these guys.” Jeff sent me a mixtape, but I never did listen to it. [I’ll admit it!] I finally just decided, in a fit of consumeristic largesse, to buy a bunch of stuff. I got some recommendations across the breadth of their discography, and I plunked down ~$60 on it.

Damn good investment.

This is collaborative filtering across the network without a good tool. I came to understand that Jeff and I had very similar musical tastes. I decided that it was a good risk for me to take a wing at something Jeff liked. I was very much betting on a good track record, and I hit a stinking home run.

As I said, though, this was done without a tool. I had to divine this on my own, which was a pain in the ass. I efuse to do as Jeff Veen seems to do, which is to sample a bunch of stuff available on Usenet and then support the artists. I have too many musician friends who get hurt by file sharing.

I think that a tool like what I suggest is a better way. You have trust. You have similarity scores. You don’t have the concern of a friend wondering if you’ll reject their musical tastes. People don’t like that.

Heck, next month, I’m going to take a chance and see an Eric Peters concert, and I’m already worried that I won’t like it as much as Christiana does. I don’t want to insult her musical tastes, because we don’t have a friendship level yet that I think can withstand it.

People are attached to their music something fierce. If someone came on here and started ripping Osenga, I’d get very mad. Irratational reaction, but honest.

I have a need for new music. That’s why I’m in the network.

9 thoughts on “The Network Rules”

  1. Just for the rescord, you will not be sorry in the least bit about seeing Eric. You will love him. Perhaps not the first time, but eventually, you will. I’ve yet to come across someone who hasn’t loved Eric (and we’re talking people of all different musical tastes). The end.

  2. Ahhhh, but you see … there’s the rub.

    I have no way to trust that opinion until I validate it.

    I’m wanting a way to mitigate risk.

    I have a finite amount of time to listen to stuff. I want to find as much stuff as I will like in that time so I can support the crap out of it by consuming.

  3. i think we have fairly similar tastes, geof. and i think you’ll appreciate ep. but, please don’t be afriad to be honest and tell me if you don’t. i can take it. although i did get really mad when people weere ragging on randall. 🙂

  4. Peters is good. He reminds me of a more literate early Bebo, or something. (Granted, my own music and tastes in others’ may pretty much negate that recommendation…)

    The “network” did get me to give OTR another try, and I’m glad I did. Ohio’s been a favorite of mine since Christmas.

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