If you ask me it makes perfect sense that radio is still cited as being the best way for people to discover new music.
Most recommendation algorithms are based on what you already like or what you’ve listened to previously. But that gives you a whole lot of prompts to listen to familiar stuff, whether it’s artists you already like or stuff that may be similar but which you already know you don’t like. But they never – at least in my experience – have been very good at surfacing just random stuff for me to discover. So I still tune into WXRT on a regular basis and find that to be the primary way I hear about bands and artists I otherwise wouldn’t have.
And the more I think about it, the more I see this as a perfect example of how important professional curation like the kind you find via radio, television networks, newspapers and other mass media remains today. While everyone is going on and on about this app pulls stories from your Twitter friends and this streaming service pulls recommended video from your Facebook friends, the best way to find out about things that would ordinarily fall outside the echo chamber is still to open a newspaper, browse through TV channels or listen to the radio.
We can’t go all in on recommendation algorithms in our media consumption because those algorithms do one thing in particular very well: They almost completely eliminate randomness. And sometimes, especially when it comes to discovery, that’s what’s most needed.