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NYT blogger discovers the joy of radio, via apps

Monday, July 8, 2013 - 12:45pm

Blogger Jenna Wortham, writing for The New York Times' Digital Diary, has apparently discovered radio.

After years with an iPod and streaming music, she's (re)disovering how radio can be "fun and communal in a way that streaming music hasn't been in years." Naturally, to feed her new hunger for radio, she downloading apps!

"The appeal of the radio isn’t the music selection," Wortham wrote. Rather, "it’s the human element that draws me in, knowing that someone is selecting songs for you."

It's a strength broadcasters often tout -- the sense of community local radio can create. The core of digital services' strength, the very "solution to the problem," is to make music and radio personal. You needn't suffer lowest-common-denominator programming, because digital technology can make something intended solely for you and enjoyed solely by you. (Certainly services have social elements and "crowd wisdom" features, but these are ultimately intended to enhance the signular listening experience.)

Could digital music services' customization of programming really amount to isolation, and thus be not a feature but a flaw? Do digital services need to address "the communal experience of listening to music together" (as Wortham describes it)?

Read more in The New York Times' Bits here.

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