Can Tech Trump Instincts
In this growing age of technology, every industry is jumping in the pool of evolution to gain an advantage. The music industry from Independent labels, to major streaming conglomerates, are relying on technology for that upper-hand . Why not? If an AI can analyze and pick a groundbreaking artist, based on algorithms, what purpose would a label need A&R's; taking up space and decreasing its bottom line?
People change, and those changes are due to rational and irrational decisions, based on need, desire, and emotions. Can an AI predict a societal shift, or a cultural transition? No. It can only report it. The human instincts can be a more powerful tool in assessing the transition of people, and provide an affected outcome, when merged within a culture. There are many examples of this in the past, from Motown’s implementation of surveying prospective audiences, to Clive Davis' commissioning Harvard University Study on soul music’s environment.
Not too long ago, music and technology were on opposite sides of the spectrum, with no future partnership insight. This is not the case today. Tech has become the music industry's oracle, by delivering information about an artist's audience that was out of reach for industry execs. Data is provided about the habits of the audiences, from shopping, to what they are listening to, and how they spend the majority of their time. This information allows the execs to study these habits, and create a map for an artist; to fill the need of that audience. Without being face to face, this data frigid.
Armed with a large number of talented staff with great ears, that can outshine any algorithm, along with tech's ability to analyze behavioral patterns and trends, talented staff can provide a more focused career path for artists. The balance of old school theory and new school technology will always produce the best results.