The Digital Den

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The Life and Times of a Digital Musicologist

Musicology – the study of music.

Digital Musicologists: Online Music’s Tastemakers was one of the panels I attended today as SXSW Music continued its weeklong experience.

What made this panel interesting is that the work of a musicologist isn’t something I’ve given too much thought to. I have just taken it as a given that there were a group of little elves magically categorizing the music that I listen to when playing my Slacker or Spotify.  That, or it was some elaborate, computerized algorithm that made music recommendations for me based upon my listening habits.

But in listening to some of the panelists describe the level of detail to the thought behind music curation was fascinating.  Oh, and check out who was on the panel:

Joseph Keys – Editor-in-Chief: eMusic
Chuck Eddy – Writer
Michael Addicott – Manager of Curation: Pandora

Experts in their respective field.

You see, music curation can be an art. Akin to a DJ creating a set, you have to select the right music for a situation. You have to have the ability to know what melody or composition sounds best with an accompanying one. You have the opportunity to create an ambience that needs to be so fluid, that the listener isn’t aware of the transition from song-to-song.

The work of a musicologist isn’t something to be taken lightly nor should it be taken for granted.  As I sat in the panel, I was reminded of a colleague who runs a music blog for the Microsoft Zune called Inside the Circle.  Over the years, I’ve watched him socialize various songs and playlists as recommendations and I’ve developed a respect for his taste.  Seeing the work that goes into music curation gave me a whole new respect for the masters that can.

Would you consider yourself a music curator? I’m sure we’ve all made a “mixtape” at some point in our lives.  Share a link below of some of your favorites or via Twitter or Facebook.


One Comment

  • I wish I would have attended this one. I have a bone to pick with them about some of the music categorized as hiphop!!

    This post made me nostalgic. I realize playlists have replaced mixtapes but we don’t put as much effort into them anymore. I’m going to make a digital mixtape now! I’ll let you know how it turns out!

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