You know, I consider myself to be a pretty nice person. I try not to dis anyone...well, except maybe the iPod (of course, that's a thing and not a person). But seriously. Who could make a SXSW panel with the title The Ultimate Music Recommendation Smackdown boring? I'll tell you who: representatives from Pandora, Last.fm, iLike, and MusicIP. Don't get me wrong. I'm sure these guys are perfectly nice--even cool--people, but sheesh. Actually, I should really blame the person who wrote the description for the panel. Allow me to paste that description here:
"With the unprecedented accessibility of recorded music, how can we discover that hot new band when there are millions of possibilities at our fingertips? Fortunately, many companies address this very question. Find out which service creates playlists worthy of a veteran DJ, and which service recommends tracks like an iPod set on shuffle as they battle it out in the ultimate playlist smackdown. Based on audience feedback, trophies will be awarded."
Er, is it just me, or does that sound like a panel where you might actually hear some music? Perhaps a battle of playlists from the aforementioned services? With audience cheering to ascertain which one is the best? No? OK, just me then. Anyway, I have rarely been so sorely disappointed by something so anticipated. I heard not a single note of music the entire hour. For the most part, it wasn't even much of a debate (as the moderator put it, "the term 'smackdown' is a bit misleading...they might as well be singing 'Kumbaya'"), although some mild bickering did emerge in the end. In any case, the information relayed was nothing you couldn't find out from the respective PR reps or the Web sites themselves. Certainly informative, but nothing new or outstanding.