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Google Founder Eric Schmidt Calls Apple Music "Elitist" as Opposed to "Democratic"

by William Hoffman   Sep 15, 2015 21:49 PM EDT

In an op-ed for the BBC, Google founder and Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt had some harsh words directed at Apple Music's tactics to pursue human curated playlists, calling the approach "elitist" (as opposed to Google's own "Democratic" approach).

In the op-ed, he discusses research in artificial intelligence and makes predictions for how our world will be changed by the technology, claiming that machine learning will be a vital component to our lives.

"To give just one example: a decade ago, to launch a digital music service, you probably would have enlisted a handful of elite tastemakers to pick the hottest new music," he writes in the piece. "Today, you're much better off building a smart system that can learn from the real world - what actual listeners are most likely to like next - and help you predict who and where the next Adele might be."

These jabs are clearly directed at Apple Music and their approach to steaming music that includes both human curated playlists and algorithmic music picks. Beats 1 has been one of the most buzzed about features of the service with DJs Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden and Julie Adenuga personally selecting music from all over the world for listeners 24/7.

Schmidt also claims Google's way is far more "democratic" and less "elitist" than Apple's service. He said Google's algorithms allow for a star to be born from our collective tastes rather than the opinions of a select few.

Spotify has also gained a lot of popularity through its taste making abilities relying more on first and third party playlists gathering songs for popular lists such as Spotify's Discovery Weekly playlist and Sean Parker's personal picks. However, Billboard recently uncovered that these playlists often take money from labels to promote their artist's songs -- an old radio crime known as payola.

These comments are especially important now as Google plans on rolling out two new subscription services for YouTube, still the biggest music streaming service in the world. How the company will combine those algorithms into YouTube Music Key and Google Play Music will have a great impact on the company's future in music streaming.

The question still remains -- which is better? Will robots come to know our collective taste and push the next undiscovered hit to the top of the charts or should we rely on the individual opinions of a few established tastemakers? As the streaming music wars continue, we'll see which customers prefer.

Watch a promotional clip for Beats 1 below that will give you a taste for how program operates.

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