Bakersfield College’s Levan Center hosted their third and last session of “Deep Cuts and Conversation” of the spring semester via Zoom on April 14. The panelists were Josh Ottum, commercial music professor, Kris Tiner, Director of the Jazz Ensemble, and Reggie Williams, a philosophy professor. The event discussed the algorithmic recommendations based on different methods such as organic or digital suggestions.
Tiner started the discussion by asking the audience if there was a time in their life where they got a recommendation for music, a film, or a book based on human interaction as opposed to a computer.
Joe Saldivar, a 53-year-old participant, told his story about how his uncles introduced him to new music from rock bands such as Pink Floyd and Genesis whose songs were around eleven to fifteen minutes long when he was 11 years old.
“And that just blew my mind, because I just thought, you know, every song, maybe two or three minutes long. Here, they were exposing me to these works of art that I’d never known about,” Saldivar said.
Chloe Caldasso, a participant from the audience, also shared her story of how her dad introduced her to the movie, “Phantom of the Paradise” as a teenager.
“I don’t think that this is something necessarily that an algorithm would have recommended because it was very unsuccessful at the box office. So I think, like, engaging in these personal recommendations, you know, we kind of like get justice to pieces of art that may have been overlooked because they weren’t hugely profitable,” Caldasso added.
Williams proceeded to mention that he sometimes receives his music recommendations through YouTube. He then went on to ask the audience about different methods that people could use to discover new music.
Ottum answered his question by explaining that he gets his music recommendations from record stores by going through different sections of the genres and picking out records based on their prices. Another way he discovers new music is through blogs, he went on to explain that he likes to receive and read daily/weekly blogs from music writers.
”They listen to all the music and they decide what they want to highlight, but I’m kind of putting my trust in like somebody who has just really done a lot of homework and their profession is essentially reviewing and writing music,” Ottum stated.
Tiner also discussed other methods he used to discover new music. According to Tiner, there is this website called Bandcamp where people can follow other music listeners and see what records they recently bought or what their collection of music looks like. He then went on to state that there is also this website called Discogs where people could write information about the artist and also show their discography to viewers. Lastly, he mentioned that he uses the streaming service, Spotify where he receives various recommendations based on the playlists that he listens to.
The event ended with Williams thanking the audience for participating and informing them that he hopes that there could be more conversations similar to this for the following semester.