With every song in our pocket, why do we listen to the same stuff over and over and over again?

February 19th, 2016
1455289960_everysongeversq.jpgThis year, in a very tired and traditional way, the Grammy’s focused on the world of Pop music.  But the fact is, no matter how traditional the show, what’s undeniable is that the world of music is nothing like it was twenty years ago. Today, in your pocket is virtually all of the world's music.  The long tail of music has never been longer.  And yet in our music, not unlike our politics, our confirmation bias leads us over and over and over again to that with which we are familiar, which makes us comfortable and safe. Couple this with streaming algorithms that lead us back, over and over, to where we started.

Yet with so much opportunity, with so many options, how do we expand our tastes and our music imagination in ways consistent with all of this new technology?

One way is to start with a new book by long time NY Times jazz and music critic Ben Ratlif, Every Song Ever: Twenty Ways to Listen in an Age of Musical Plenty.

My conversation with Ben Ratliff: