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You Don’t Know Me… Why Not?

Ted Cohen of EMI, Wired Magazine’s “Music Node” as one of the most connected people in the Entertainment Industry, was speaking at a conference recently and related his experience with a new recommendation service. The Internet-based service asked him to list artists that he liked so it could make recommendations of music he might like. One artist he named was Todd Rundgren. Lo and behold, the service recommended an artist he’d probably like (drum roll please…)

Todd Rundgren! Brilliant, but useless!


Last year, PassAlong Networks introduced OnTour. Our new service looks at your music collection and alerts you when artists whose music you have, and therefore probably like, will be performing in your town. Sometimes being smart means keeping it simple.

OnTour 1.0

So, you’ve learned that an artist you like will be playing at a venue you enjoy… and the natural question emerges… “Who else is playing there?”  Click the “Venue” button and the answer is yours.

OnTour schedule

Many people are uneasy about about revealing their personal interests and information on the Internet. Yet many services have grown smarter and smarter over the years by gathering preference information – with respect for individuals and their privacy – and using it to make their offerings more convenient and more intelligent. Amazon.com is one example that comes to mind in my own online shopping experiences.

The best services will use automated smarts and, at the same time, let the consumer provide direct feedback into the system. Several years ago I bought a book as a gift to my wife. Amazon.com still gives me recommendations based on that purchase. I wonder why I can’t remove that book from the formula that triggers my recommendations.  Newer sites like Pandora let you request less of one artist and more of another. The more I use that service, the smarter it gets.

Already, there’s plenty of horsepower behind our computer keyboards, and in the Internet networks we use, to make our online entertainment experience better every day. When that processing power is harnessed thoughtfully, the smart sites will grow more responsive and more relevant. And all of a sudden one service “feels better” than another. Useful and brilliant!

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