Shane Richmond today points us to a new music recommendation engine, theSixtyOne - a sort of Digg for music with a market intelligence element because users have to spend points to recommend tracks. You'd think I'd like this - I like media recommendation engines and Wisdom of Crowds systems, and the points-allocation element of this one might guard users from what Game Theorists calls "cheap talk" (though it might not since the points, while nominally scarce, are also free).
And yet...theSixtyOne looks to me like a retrograde step in recommending music. In a Long Tail digital economy (that incidentally is getting longer) theSixtyOne is all about the head. Smart recommendation engines are all about personalisation through metadata - finding me the music (or other media) that people like me like. This seems to be about finding everyone the music that everyone likes, which frankly we've been able to do in England via the Top 40 since, according to Le Wik, 1952.
If I have one recommendation, it is for bands to get on there and get big on there now while it is presumably relatively easy to do so - experiments have shown in the past that preferences, particularly for music, are moulded by the information we have about the preferences of others so getting to the top of a new chart in its early days is a good marketing investment for any band.