Have you ever disappeared down one of those YouTube rabbit holes that was revealed to you on account of some algorithm which picks up your taste in music and then goes on to recommend some more music you might like? Ask fans of the Japanese City Pop genre of music about artists such as Mariya Takeuchi and her retro hit song, Plastic Love, and they’ll likely tell you a story of how just a few months ago they didn’t even know there was something called Japanese City Pop!
This is a case of the algorithms which go into the operation of platforms such as YouTube demonstrating just how well they can work, but there appears to be a point beyond which they work too well.
Shawn Mendes and Janelle Monae –WTF?!!
As with pretty much all the other tech which goes on to enjoy widespread adoption, it appears as if the founders and maintainers of that tech are all about one thing, which is the bottom line. Sure, they state all manner of wonderful things when they talk about their missions, visions and the likes, but at the end of the day the manner through which they manipulate the operation of their algorithms suggests that they’re all about making money over offering the great user experience they claim to be aiming for.
For instance, ask the same YouTube users who delighted in all the new “old” music they’ve discovered and are now jamming to, all day, every day, who Shawn Mendes and Janelle Monae are and the most discerning of these music lovers will tell you a story of how annoying those two names are! I mean sure, these are some contemporary musicians who appear to have huge followings among their targeted group of music consumers, but the fact that the type of music they create is forced upon people who have a different taste in music demonstrates what I’m talking about. The algorithms work, but they’re being misused to a certain extent, driven by a focus on the bottom line.
I mean if YouTube’s algorithm rather astutely recommends a song I might like when taking into account one I listened to which I did indeed like, how on earth then can it ever try to force the music of Shawn Mendes and Janelle Monae on me? The answer is those are a couple of contemporary artists who have spent a lot of money on YouTube ads as part of their strategy to drum up some publicity, so that’s why you could be listening to a playlist comprised out of music from a totally different genre and still be subjected to these repetitive, annoying ads.
The good news is that if an advert is not relevant to you or is repetitive, you can opt out of seeing it again by selecting the “i” icon attached to its banner and then opting out that way.
The algorithms work, but you just need to take a bit of ownership of them and control how they serve you.