When algorithms shape music taste, human curiosity loses With all the songs at our fingertips, we’re exposed to very few, thanks to how digital recommendations work.

Despite some old-school comebacks like the rise in vinyl sales, we’re now in a very different world of music consumption than we were in at the turn of the century or before. Many younger music lovers have almost no experience with record stores, with independent radio stations, with music coverage in their local paper that ranges outside mega-selling acts. But, the cyber utopians tell us, the explosion of the web, of steaming services that include almost every song ever recorded, lead to all kinds of niche-listening, all kinds of previously overlooked types of music to thrive.

 A smart essay in the Financial Times, mostly a review of three new books about music, reminds us that for all the talk about the eclecticism that digital technology would inspire, it’s not quite working out that way. Much of the niche-driven world of Chris Anderson’s book “The Long Tail” has remained a Silicon Valley fantasy. From the FT: