June 19, 2009

Allison Kraus And Demographic Fate

Sitting in Chicago Starbucks, #437, sipping green tea, and cranking out work via laptop. 


To muffle the barrista rattle and speaker songs blaring overhead required firing up iTunes and headphones.  


The first random shuffle selection: Allison Kraus & Gillian Welch singing “I’ll Fly Away.”


No more than 15 minutes later, “I’ll Fly Away” jumps onto the in-house speakers.  What are the odds?


One could view that as a cool twist of fate and unseen forces in play.


But thought of another way, couldn’t technology be leveraged to hit that ‘fate card’ more readily, a la ‘Minority Report’

  • Imagine a bar’s juke box that suggested songs based on reading your iPod’s song collection
  • Consider a car satellite radio system that read your tastes via your phone’s Bluetooth function and threw in songs or programs that matched past selections


Where else could we read preferences, needs, experiences and offer them up so consumers didn’t have to browse or even ask?


Sure, there’s a big brother worry.  But if one could be entertained, or get customized suggestions without having to work at it — and with the ability to turn it off — that would be welcome.




Fate?  No.   The demographic overlap between Starbucks and a middle-aged song collection?  Yes.