On occasion I listen to an internet radio station named “Pandora.” On Pandora, you put in an artist or a song and it plays music similar to that artist or song. Then, when you particularly like a song, you hit a “like” button. The radio station takes this into account, and plays more of the type of songs that you like.
This is how I ended up with an internet radio station that plays nothing but James Taylor.
I never listened much to James Taylor in the past, but the internet has concluded, based on the songs I have liked, that James Taylor is basically the only thing I should be listening to. If I type in Beethoven, Pandora will play James Taylor. If I type in Metallica, Pandora will play James Taylor.
Believe me, I don’t mind James Taylor now and again. But I think I’ve had my fill of James Taylor. Hearing him croon “But I always thought I would see you again,” once is heartbreaking. After the 40th time or so, I want to tell James Taylor he needs to lighten up. Another 40 times and I want to change the lyrics to “I always thought I would not hear this song again.”
It doesn’t help that my mind decides to play a few bars of that song all night long. It’s like in my brain is a tiny tape recorder that flips onto repeat when I try to go to sleep. And, unfortunately, the tape in this player is only 15 seconds long. So I don’t even get a whole song played over and over again; just a few seconds worth until it repeats itself 12 trillion times. By 4 a.m., I’m about ready to hunt James Taylor down. If I end up hurting James Taylor, I’m claiming that it’s Pandora’s fault.
The internet can figure out a lot of things about you, but sometimes it has a little trouble with its algorithms. When my radio station isn’t playing James Taylor, it’s playing The Beatles. You can’t argue with Pandora playing the best band of all time. But it plays a Beatles song, and then a George Harrison song, and then a Paul McCartney song, and then a John Lennon song. No one told the internet that it’s playing the same song over and over again. Poor Ringo, he always gets left out.
Another tricky thing the internet attempts to do is custom-make advertising, so that all the ads you see are things you really want to buy anyway. The poor internet has its work cut out for itself though, because I’m a little bit of a hard-nosed cheapskate. I’m sure the internet knows this. It runs the numbers on what I’m likely to buy and arrives at the right answer: nothing. But the internet has to have ads, or it doesn’t get paid, so it has to come up with something.
So that’s why the internet is playing James Taylor all the time. It’s revenge.
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