Thursday, August 21, 2008

Born to be random

Born to be wild
One of the attractions of music file-sharing is that the user can select the specific track wanted, rather than the whole bundle and go on to produce a personalised compilation of his or her own favourites. This practice of creating your own mix, which first emerged with the availability of cheap recordable audio tape is now reproduced online. Muxtape is a Web 2:0 music sharing site that encourages its members to exchange compilation collections. But alternative patterns of consumption are emerging all the time. The CD multiplayer brought in the idea of randomly shuffling through a bank of CDs, but as Naomi Alderman observes, the iTunes shuffle function takes randomness to a new level, as listeners are able to draw on their entire music library. But Alderman goes one step further in suggesting that 'we’re welcoming more randomness in our lives'. She gives a number of examples including the Flickr concept of interestingness. Now that’s interesting, or is it random? And how random is random, anyway? Shall I tag this Web 2.0 or random?

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