[Other music subscription] companies, these services, all lack curation. They call it curation; there’s no curation. That’s what we did as a record label, we curated. There’s 150 white rappers in America; we served you one. We are heavy on curation, and we believe it’s a combination of human and math. But it’s a give and take. Right now, somebody’s giving you 12 million songs, and you give them your credit card, and they tell you “good luck.” You need to have some kind of help. I’m going to offer you a guide.
The article itself is distressingly short in intelligent editorialization about its subject -- Beats Audio is easily the biggest ripoff in audio since Monster Cable -- but this quote from Iovine caught my eye, since it's also symptomatic of the current burgeoning problem in publishing.
The very people who are there to provide us with guidance -- the publishers and bookstores -- are being thought of as irrelevancies or archaisms. Crowdsourcing and friends' lists will replace all that (or so go one of the comments).
The terrible thing is, I think that's entirely correct. Such things can indeed replace the older mechanisms of brick-and-mortar institutions or editorial guidance, but whether they do as good a job or better is highly questionable. I trust my friend's tastes inasmuch as they are satisfied by something, not whether I think I will be as well. I trust the tastes of big groups of strangers not at all.
The resentment against Iovine as a curator for bringing us salable mediocrity is one thing (read the comments), but the answer to that is not floods of five-star reviews on Amazon for books that don't even pass basic editorial muster. There's got to be better ways.
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind