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Letters to the Editor August 20182 minute read


- The Algorithm Is No Friend -To the Editor: July is a great issue. For starters, there was the always reliable and insightful Scott Yanow’s profile on Bob Crosby and Brian Sheridan’s interview with Michael Feinstein. Nevertheless, for me, you are the real star of the issue. Your birthday card for Ivie Anderson was sweet, succinct, and informative. But it was your editorial, “Turn Your Radio Off,” that made me ponder as nothing else I read did, especially in light of Michael Feinstein’s faint praise of Spotify. I think the algorithm is a cultural foe not a friend, even though it comes bearing gifts of treasure to people like me in search of a past that passed long before they were born. No software can predict or even produce the kind of revelation that occurs when one follows one’s own maturing instinct and curiosity. I spent my entire youth fighting for the oxygen of good music and learning a discernment that can only come through struggle and thirst. Internet abundance is a Trojan horse planted in our midst. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad for Radio Dismuke and all the other purveyors of the vintage music so dear to us. But they’re true radio. Spotify is false radio. I’d much rather rely on the Internet Archive as a resource than Google because it places before us whole collections for us to savor—with the extra satisfaction of self-discovery. When I was
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