Ultra-rich executives of multinational companies are people too, and people can be petty creatures. Case in point: Googl… er, Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt.
In the middle of a long BBC editorial about artificial intelligence’s challenges and deep potential, Schmidt tossed in some thoughts that are clearly a barb against Apple Music:
“A decade ago, to launch a digital music service, you probably would have enlisted a handful of elite tastemakers to pick the hottest new music.
Today, you’re much better off building a smart system that can learn from the real world - what actual listeners are most likely to like next - and help you predict who and where the next Adele might be.
As a bonus, it’s a much less elitist taste-making process - much more democratic - allowing everyone to discover the next big star through our own collective tastes and not through the individual preferences of a select few.”
A decade ago, eh?
To recap, Apple Music launched in late June, and Apple touted its human touch as a key feature in a world full of streaming music services that revolve around algorithms. Apple Music’s “For You” section is stuffed with themed playlists curated by actual people, while Beats 1 is a 24/7 live radio station that beams its songs across the globe, selected by big-name DJs and artists like Dr. Dre, Elton John, Zane Lowe, and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme. Reactions were mixed its first day, but Beats 1 has proven to be extremely popular if Twitter chatter’s any indication.
Google Play Music, on the other hand, relies heavily on algorithms for its playlists, as Google services often do. But here’s the deliciously ironic part: Google employs a team of “music curators and editors” to hand-select every track in Play Music’s contextual playlists, according to Time. From that article:
“That human touch helps give the stations a quirky specificity that’s hard for computers to match—there are playlists for Ron Burgundy’s bachelor pad, Kanye West’s soul-sampling “Pink Polo” era and sipping tea with Drake.”
Like I said: ultra-rich executives of multinational companies are people too, and some people put their foot in their mouth all too often.