Monday, August 31, 2015

A few afterthoughts on today's class

I should have made clear that for these first two weeks what we are doing is giving an extended introduction into the subject.  Organizations can be thought of in many different.  Bolman and Deals book has "reframing" in the title to suggest that.  The branding that we discussed briefly today is part of their fourth frame, why is on a symbolic approach to organizations.  The structural frame is the first.  But even within an economics only view, there are multiple ways to consider organizations.  Instead of calling these frames, let me call them metaphors, though they are much the same thing.  Transactions costs are one such metaphor.  We'll look at some others in class on Wednesday.

I was surprised that several of you indicated you listen to the radio in you car and that is a source of new music for you.  Let me here consider Internet radio and with that consider Pandora.  (In class I mentioned Spotify.)  I would be curious whether there are other Internet radio stations that are also popular with the class.  Internet radio is distinct from old style radio in that with the former the user can customize the content to some degree.  Pandora differs from Spotify, however in the extent of user control.  Pandora's channels are determined by affinity to a particular artist or to a particular genre.  I don't know their algorithm for determining affinity, but presumably you like Pandora if you enjoy the selections it offers to you.  This is a way to discover new music where your own taste influences the discovery to some extent.

We talked about network externalities briefly and used Facebook as an example, but I didn't have time to ask whether new music exhibits network externalities for you.  In other words, do you want to listen to the same music your friends listen to?  Or do you not care about that.    Somebody in class mentioned YouTube as an alternative way to learn about music.  Perhaps the YouTube approach work you can subscribe to certain people who post certain types of music.  That sort of subscription approach might promote network externalities.

Let me close by asking whether anyone in class knows somebody who is trying to make a living as a musician in a small band.  If so and if you know how they make ends meet that would be useful to add to the discussion in class today.


There are several musicians and bands from Champaign.  This page has 9 entries that say Champaign.  The two I knew are Alison Krauss and REO Speedwagon.


  1. To a certain extent, having friends listening to the music that I like is preferable as it adds another depth to activities you can do together (going to the artist's concert, discussing about the artist's new album, etc). However, I also enjoy having friends that listen to things that I don't normally listen to as I get a different view/feel rather than faced with routine stuff. Having considered that we live in an era of connectivity with the world, I think its ultimately insignificant whether my friends listen to the same music that I listen to as the web is filled with loads of music enthusiast that I can share my joy with.

    With regards to Pandora's algorithm that can find songs that are similar to the one I already like, I do agree that they are extremely good. Personally, I've liked most of their suggestion. However, I feel like their suggestion leads to over consumption of the music that I like and I get less and less utility/consumption/satisfaction from those kinds of music. Occasionally, I would have to take a break from listening to the songs that I like because I've heard too many of them.

  2. Thanks for the comment and breaking the ice. I hope to see many more comments from students over the semester.

    The issue of whether our entertainment, music in this case, primarily provides comfort for us - in the form of already familiar stuff, or challenges us and educates us - new and different stuff, is one of those things to reflect on now and then. When I was your age I wanted challenges, but more from movies than from music.