Maximizing Your Music Experience (Part Two)

In part two of his three part essay, our resident music industry philosopher Kyle Bylin continues his exploration of the differences between digital natives and the previous generations.  (Read Part One and Part 3)

Paradox Of Choice
In his book The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz explains, “We all know people who do their choosing quickly and decisively and people for whom almost every decision is a major project.”  Therefore, we've all known someone from recent generations that have displayed tendency to maximize their current music experience, but there is one factor that separates digitaSong_mappingl natives from their parents.  The 'birth right' that they embraced and claimed was the ability to maximize both their current and future music experiences.  A burnt remix CD is the first time they could, most effortlessly, place the songs they wanted to hear in a 'maximized' order with the hope that their predictions would satisfy their future needs. 

 Plotting Music Maps

These slight exaggerations of experience maximization were used as examples to build a premise for my main contention: when we are given an iPod or Zune, does the likelihood that we will settle with any given song decrease?  Given that our ability to maximize our music experience quicker and more smoothly navigated than with previous technologies, it seems that there are more users who display the habits of maximizing than those who 'satisfice.' 

Whether the large array of options consists of one hundred or thousands of songs, it appears that we've fooled ourselves into believing we are capable of selecting a song that perfectly matches our current mood.  Being the masters of mood interpretation and music collections that we are, it seems we've created this belief that a song which perfectly matches our current mood exists.  Yet, when we do select a song, the counter effect is that the abundance of choice leaves it easy for us to imagine that we could've made a different choice that would've been better.

This method of maximizing is slightly different because we're not only attempting to maximize our experience, but we're attempting to maximize the amounts of satisfaction and happiness that are derived from it.  We've taken the idea of personal programming to heart and have started to imagining how playing certain music can impact our level of happiness throughout our days.  This type of programming requires the highest amount of forward thinking because what we're trying to do is play out future experiences in our heads and imagine, not only what music could make them more enjoyable, but what could make them better.  The programming went on to cover activities such as running, biking, sleeping, waking up, working, and driving.

Read Part One and Part 3

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