Privacy-supported music?

I was reading this article today about a new record label, DigSin, that will be offering their music for free on their website.

Why Record Label DigSin is Giving Away its Music – from TheNextWeb

How are they paying for their music? By getting more information about who is listening to it! It’s interesting how quite quickly people are realizing the cost of privacy, and the economic benefit that you can get if you are able to break that privacy barrier.

Today, as far as I know, Spotify and iTunes provide analytics to the record label about how many people purchased/listened to their music, and from where (I think that Spotify also provides time information). But owning your own analytics is always better if your business is around user analytics (analytics for this blog is great to have, but as I don’t get any money from it, whatever the platform, Squarespace, provides is better than what I would have time and knowledge to generate myself). Also, they will probably request email addresses for those users, which is much more powerful than anything that larger services can provide.

Where is this trend taking us? A lot of more people knowing things about us. Is this a good thing? For people that believe that relevant ads are good for you, yes! For me: it depends on how and when it’s used. If I can then go to their website and say: “Hey, I’m looking for something to do next month. What is something I’d be interested in?” and they would be able to provide me with artists that will be having concerts around here that I’ll like based on my past downloads, I’ll gladly provide them with my information (assuming that they have their security in place and I won’t start getting spam in a few months because somebody accessed their database).

Anyway, I could go a long time writing about this topic. I’ve had the opportunity in my past to work on a few “personalization” projects and had to think about my “limits” of what I think is good for people and when we cross that line. Privacy is good. But recommendations (algorithm or human-based) are what allow us to choose in this world full of choices.

The public web

I was reading the news this morning and I couldn’t let this one get away without me posting it on my blog:

Woman denied degree because of MySpace profile

A classic!

There are lots of interesting things that happens in a world where things you do are more publicly accessible. It’s similar to the keynote speech by Jon Kleinberg I’ve heard during the last SIGIR: all the 6-degree-separation endless discussion has to be revalidated. Now that social networking sites makes your social network publicly visible, all numbers and goals change. It’s much easier for a person living in a cave to have hundreds of friends. On the same lines, it’s much easier for a person that is trying to know more about another person to find people or direct evidence out there. In the past you had to hire a private investigator or things like that.

I could now start reciting a number of science fiction authors that predicted this shift on the concept of privacy, but I’ll just end this post and start my day.