16 February 2006

How they know what you like before you do [Christian Science Monitor]

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Tastetracking
The high-tech tracking of people’s preferences puts firms in touch with tastes.

Over the past decade, e-commerce has taken a cue from the notion that friends give the best recommendations. Personalized suggestions have become more commonplace as various forms of media converge, industry professionals say, and this could both change the entertainment industry and give consumers more power.

By 2010, one-quarter of online music sales will be driven by “taste-sharing applications,” predicts a study released in December by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School and research firm Gartner.

This kind of social interaction, the Berkman Center study predicts, will help democratize musical tastes. “Instead of primarily disc jockeys and music videos shaping how we view music, we have a greater opportunity to hear from each other…. These tools allow people to play a greater role in shaping culture, which, in turn, shapes themselves,” the study states.

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Download study “Consumer taste-sharing is driving the online music business and democratizing culture” (pdf, 532 kb, 12 pages)

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