This Is My Jam has two years worth of selective and very significant data from its users, avoiding the ‘big music data’ problem of including random songs from shuffle.
The Towpath Cafe, on the bank of the Regents Canal as it runs through Haggerston in east London, isn’t the best place to hold an interview: on the first warm day of the year, distractions are rife.
“That dog is really … what’s happening over there?” asks Hannah Donovan, one half of This Is My Jam, mid-way through a description of how her site will change as it drops the beta label and launches fully this summer. Shortly afterwards, a flotilla of school-age kayakers pass, and drown out her co-founder Matthew Ogle.
The bundle of changes that make up the new version 1.0, collectively called “song clubs”, come after two years of experimentation. There’s a lot of changes afoot, but at their heart, the pair hope to end the debate over whether algorithms or humans are better at making the sort of accurate recommendations which are the lifeblood of companies as diverse as Spotify and Amazon.
“The pendulum has swung,” explains Donovan. “We’re not stuck in this stupid argument anymore about ‘robots v people’. There’s major companies out there that are starting to see the value in both.”