Customer Service, Innovation

When you can listen to any music, how do you choose?

I’m listening to Spotify today (Head and the Heart, if you’re wondering), and I realized that the explosion of music choices (in a day, I might listen to Pandora, Turntable, Grooveshark, KEXP Radio here in Seattle, or any one of a number of sources of music) hasn’t made it much easier to pick what I’d like to listen to at the time I’d like to listen to it.

True – the recommendations of friends and the ability to pick almost any song or album at any moment has given us an almost infinite ability to listen. And it has also given us an almost infinite menu of choices. I’m late to the party on this one, and I’m really enjoying the combination of Spotify when combined with Last.fm to curate music I might like based on my choices. It leads me to believe that the next step in app development and service development overall is the shift from mass customization to real personalization based on behavior.

Why should we care? Because too much choice can be paralyzing and prevent you from acting. Barry Schwartz is a psychologist who studies the effect of choice – here’s his TED talk on the effects of too much choice on our overall happiness.

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