It’s frustrating that in 2014, people still talk about streaming music services as wholly algorithm-driven in their recommendations. Most now blend their machines with human curators building playlists. Still, for some independent labels, the human over machine element is still a big part of the pitch for their own subscription services for fans. Witness the way Sub Pop’s director of sales Richard Laing talks about the label’s recently-launched service, which is powered by “Instead of people seeking out recommendations from any kind of algorithm, they’re seeking that out from our label and what we’re looking to put out,” he told the New York Times. “That’s what labels like ours were built on. People bought Sub Pop records and hopefully still do based on seeing the label. So hopefully this is a digital equivalent of that.” The same piece also includes a couple of quotes from musician Nicolas Jaar about his Other People service: “Spotify, the YouTube service, the Beats service, that’s like going to a big grocery store, and you can find any kind of food you like, but for me personally, I prefer inviting someone over to my house and cooking for them…”

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