events, News

How Digital Discovery Works

The Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary, University of London, will be hosting a seminar at 4pm this Wednesday, 28th November, with David Jennings, author of Nets, Blogs and Rock’n’Roll, on “How Digital Discovery Works: Deciding what to listen to next in a world of infinite choice”.

The seminar will take place in room 105 in the Electronic Engineering Department, Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS. Directions of how to get to Queen Mary are available at as are details of future seminars. The room is under access control, so people from outside QM Electronic Engineering will need to contact C4DM to get in – the lab phone number is +44 (0)20 7882 7986.

Abstract: “The culture we choose to explore makes us who we are. Music fans have more choice in their listening than ever before. The on-demand availability of everything, and the choice it confers to step inside anyone’s cultural shoes, brings with it responsibilities and anxieties as well as excitement. The act of discovery — what are you going to listen to next? — moves to centre stage.
“Many enterprises want to help with discovery: Amazon, Google, Wikipedia, MySpace,, radio, TV and press. But one of the most powerful (and truly “cross-platform”) media is word of mouth and the reputation that accrues via the exchanges in blogs, recommendations and fan sites.
“My talk will seek to explain some of the dynamics of word of mouth, and what the implications of these dynamics are for the marketing and promotion of music. There is an influential minority of fans who are keen to ‘pioneer’ in discovering new music and then spread the word to other fans. Meanwhile a mostly silent majority takes a more casual approach to discovery.
“Artists and bands cannot control the means by which they are discovered. They can only enable these means. It helps to understand the dynamics of communication and influence so that you can tap into their power.
“I propose three levels to what I call the Net, Blogs and Rock’n’Roll ‘architecture of discovery’: 1. The Net is the data-crunching and underground plumbing that processes massive volumes of user behaviours and spots the trends and patterns within them 2. Blogs are the human level of conversation, not as ‘clean’ and quantitative as the data level, but enriched by personality, trust and shared history 3. Rock’n’Roll is the spirit that keeps us interested in exploring the edges of our culture, and that challenges yesterday’s consensus.”

Bio: “David Jennings is Director of DJ Alchemi Ltd and author of Net, Blogs and Rock ‘n’ Roll. David is an independent consultant specialising in online learning and discovery. His clients have included learndirect, the Trades Union Congress and the British Standards Institute. He has written on music and technology for specialist and generalist press in the UK, and advised the (now defunct) National Centre for Popular Music. He has also created online reference resources for communities of music fans, including the wiki site for the cult album, ’69 Love Songs’. Before setting up his own business twelve years ago, David was a Principal Psychologist in what is now the Department for Work and Pensions in the UK Government. He is registered as a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society and is a Certified Member of the Association for Learning Technology (CMALT). David was chair of the British Human-Computer Interaction Group from 1995-97, and a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Interacting with Computers for ten years. He has held board positions in arts charities and technology companies, including Wired Workplace Ltd, which he co-founded. He holds degrees from the Universities of Cambridge, Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s