I am happy to bring on my punchline in the opening sentence: The only thing that this new gamified music listening service is taking to a new level, is “stupid”.
Now, the long form.
Does everything have to be about the finance game? Everything-everything? Even love and magical things?
I am thinking, one day in the distant future, the majority of people are probably going to be forced to remember that the purpose of adult life is not distraction, and not trying to never grow up, but enjoying adulthood. Adulthood is a very happy thing.
Music is otherworldly. It can soothe, and bring out the pain and then heal it, it can inspire one through a difficult task. But when people of a certain psychological type get a hold of it, all they know to do is how to use it to play finance games and sell shit. All they know to do is how to sell shit, period. There is nothing wrong with selling when it’s done in the context of respect and general decency. During the darkest times, there are always people who manage to sneak in amazing, beautiful things, and sell them to others without too much evil. But when it’s about sucking the soul out of you, like a spider from a sci-fi cartoon, it not good. When people dealing music don’t have the organ to understand its power, it’s tragic.
Enter Chosen, “an experiment in the gamification of music listening.”
This morning’s press-release, masked as a cheery Medium article, starts with nonsense about “our genetic fabric” (a drop of determinism that is designed to create a subliminal tie to the advertised product… yawn).
And then it goes into the dark web of meaningless macaroni: “Chosen turns the genre on its head, where not just performers compete, but the 99% of us, who are fairly talentless as performers, compete to prove our expertise as judges… Our game ‘Judge the Judge’ has you watch a 15 second performance clip followed by two video reviews. You pick the better judge.Ultimately, your rank as a judge is based on an algorithm that includes your historical performance picking winners, the number of followers you’ve built, and the quality of your critiques determined from winning ‘Judge the Judge’ rounds.”
And it goes on, and on, and on.
A tangent: There are many interesting books that talk about how shifting the focus from learning to “entertainment” in education and business practices has been used–sometimes intentionally and sometimes accidentally–by powers in politics and commerce, to create a helpless mass of followers who need a pacifier, at all times. Unfortunately, there are side effects for the followers. They never grow up, and that’s one of the most horrible things that can happen to a human. Neuronal connections don’t develop, misery entails.
Predators are allowed to prey and blow smoke. But listening to them creates pain. Gamification is just a way to corrupt people a bit more, and recycle their beautiful, vibrant souls for a quick profit.
David Hyman, I hope you read it. I don’t know you and I don’t hold any personal grudge–desprite the blunt tone of my words–but have you ever thought of music (and yourself) as a power to make the world better, vs. a power that is guaranteed to make the world more stupid? Do you want to leave the legacy of stupid behind you?
Do you have kids? Do you want them to use your service?
Monetizing the sacred is a two-sided sword. Think about it…
I am a musician, and you are fucking up my sacred.