Weekly Wins May 18, 2018

Yanny/Laurel: The Great Debate

Weekend Time!

It’s (kinda) summer too so that just makes it so much sweeter. We suggest that you ease into your newly acquired life of leisure with a recap of the week’s highlights in The Weekly Wins!

Internet debates, music mixes and more to wet your digital whistle.

1. Resting on Your Yanny’s

Here it is, the latest polarizing post that has driven the internet mad for the past twenty four hours: https://twitter.com/CloeCouture/status/996218489831473152

Go ahead and take a listen, if you haven’t already. Be prepared to argue with approximately 50% of the people in the room at the result.

Yanny/Laurel is reminiscent of The Dress, a similar internet sensation from a few years back that everyone had to weigh in on. Both Yanny/Laurel and The Dress could exist as social experiments concerning the effects of differing perspectives. For instance, can anyone’s testimony in court truly be trusted?

Perhaps Yanny/Laurel could (finally) bring about world peace. It’s the same clip! But we hear different things! Doesn’t that mean that we’re all fundamentally the same even though we may view the world differently?

Lofty goals for the type of internet firestorm that’s bound to be a flash-in-the-pan. It’s been fun though, can’t wait for the next one! One can only imagine what it will be that we see/hear differently.

Also, if you’re the type of person that simply needs to know everything about the story and science behind Yanny/Laurel, you can learn all about it here.

Time for a cleanse

2. Dirty Computer Tricks 

In the constant deluge of entertainment that people wade through every day, artists (and their management teams) struggle to devise schemes to stand out from the pack with their new releases. The question that they’re always asking is, how do we cut through the noise?

One answer is to create a story about your release. To double down on that concept, you would create an app to go along with your story.

Actor/musician Janelle Monae is known as an innovator. It’s not surprising then, that her team would concoct an innovative strategy for generating interest in a new release.

Monae’s new album, Dirty Computer, is a concept album set in a dystopian future in which unruly machines need to be ‘cleansed’. To accompany the release, her team created an app that ‘cleanses’ your Spotify playlist. Essentially what it does is erase your tunes and replace them with Monae’s album.

Aggressive? Maybe. Diabolical? Maybe. Genius? Definitely.

Doubtlessly, a sweet gimmick. It is slightly reminiscent of the infamously ill-conceived U2, iTunes stunt, however. Odds are that anyone that actually downloads the app will be none-too-pleased about the results.

Merging a concept with tech that pushes the story a little bit further is undoubtedly the goal of any marketer. Whether or not this stunt turns out to be a hit with fans, it’s still a win.

3. Pop Star Music Machine

Lennon and McCartney. Rogers and Hammerstein. Highteen and Jukedeck?

Most songwriters will tell you that collaboration is key to success. It’s great to have someone to get the ball rolling or to bounce ideas off of. Given the rapid advancement of common application AI, it should come as no surprise that artists have begun to pair with AI to create pop hits.

It may sound odd at first but AI has a referential library of songs to utilize in the formation of new music that no human can possibly hope to imitate. Even the deepest nerdery of the dedicated crate-digging record collector would not stand a chance in a music knowledge standoff with the internet.

Will the songs have soul? Definitely not.

A discussion about whether or not the songs are ‘good’  is open for debate but they are certainly as good as any other extremely produced song pumped out by a hit factory. A quick glance at the credits for a Justin Bieber hit illustrates that there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen.

As yet AI just provides the starting point for the hits that it’s produced, and the formula appears to work best within the K-Pop arena. Humans add the finishing touches.

It begs the question though: how long before there is no human element involved?

Likely if it causes you to tap your feet and nod your head it wouldn’t much matter if a human or a machine had made it.

4. Flying From the Nest 

If you’re the type of person that has held off on fully automating your home due to fears that the Internet of Things will malfunction or worse yet, turn on you and create a killer house, HAL scenario, then you should know that you’ve been validated.

Well, not fully. What actually happened is that Nest ecosystem shut off for a few hours, which affected the entire gamut of Nest users products, such as thermostats, locks, cameras, doorbells, smoke detectors, and alarms.

The effects were catastrophic!

Not really. In fact, the effects were minimal. Nest users were forced to use their hands to operate their various devices for a few hours. Not ideal but could be worse.

Automated homes are still super neat. By 2020 it’s predicted that 30% of our web interaction will be hands free.  So don’t let a little ripple in the Nest force sway you.

YouTube tunes

5. Google Play, We Hardly Knew Ye 

Google Play, RIP.

YouTube has unveiled a new music streaming service to compete with your music service of choice and in the process it is phasing out Google Play and rebranding Youtube Red to Youtube Premium.

But what doesYouTubeMusic have to offer that you can’t get from your streamer of choice? Scads and scads of data, of course!

In recent years even the most stringent of music snobs has been swayed to the magic of data based digital music curation. It turns out that Spotify and Apple Music actually do know the best music choices for you throughout the day.YouTube Music  is making a play for the music discovery throne. Put your thinking cap away, you won’t need it ever again. For music choices, at least.

YouTube Music’s method for accomplishing this goal isn’t surprising: it’s going to use your existing data to curate playlists for you. Yes, your data can be put to good use, and being that Youtube is a subsidiary of the mother of all data hoarders, Google, the odds are that you it’ll be able to curate one fine list for you.

Here’s something interesting:YouTube plans to enlist the help of ‘music experts’ in local territories to help ‘shape discovery’.

Humans? Ugh.

These words are by Nick Kewin

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