- We won't save the Earth with a better kind of disposable coffee cup | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian:
Amid the general incoherence, one contributor stated: “It comes down, I think, to us each taking responsibility for the personal choices in our everyday lives. That's all any of us can be expected to do.” This perfectly represents the mistaken belief that a better form of consumerism will save the planet. The problems we face are structural: a political system captured by commercial interests, and an economic system that seeks endless growth.Related: Neoliberalism has conned us into fighting climate change as individuals | Martin Lukacs | Environment | The Guardian:
While we busy ourselves greening our personal lives, fossil fuel corporations are rendering these efforts irrelevant. The breakdown of carbon emissions since 1988? A hundred companies alone are responsible for an astonishing 71%. You tinker with those pens or that panel; they go on torching the planet.
- Questions over 'war on drugs' as data shows NSW drug busts were accidentally counted twice - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):
Data used to back up the use of drug sniffer dogs at music festivals and praise police busts has been "double counted", raising questions over the legitimacy of drug-related strategies in NSW.
- The reality is more nuanced than NRL players being blokey boofheads | Catharine Lumby | Opinion | The Guardian:
One of the issues is that when guys who are already perceived as “education proof” do the wrong thing, it is seen as confirmation that they'll never change. That it's futile to try. This wrong-headed belief is, I think, grounded in class prejudice. A guy in a suit at a corporate function once even asked me: “Why do you even try with these animals?”
- Ipswich woman 'terrified' by nursery rhyme alarm - BBC News. World's creepiest burglar alarm.
- A New Wheel-Driven Speed Record Has Been Set At The Bonneville Salt Flats:
Team Vesco's Turbinator II set a new world record for a wheel-driven car, an insane 483 mph.That's 777 kmh.
- NRL 2018 news: Footy Show axed by Channel Nine | Fox Sports. Maybe we'll get a show about footy now ;)
- Women's Pockets are Inferior. Shown with data and neat illustrations.
- Peter Dutton Business | ten daily:
the minister responsible for the most powerful law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth, and in whose hands lies the future of the Prime Ministership itself, is under a legal cloud. The Constitutional question: is he entitled to sit in Parliament at all.
- Anger over Tony Abbott's Indigenous envoy role: 'Haven't we been punished enough?' - Politics - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):
Jackie Huggins, the co-chair of the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples, said there was a feeling of deflation in the community. "Haven't we been punished enough in Indigenous affairs? How long can we put up with a paternalistic government who does not choose to engage or to talk to us?"
- This Is A Sailboat And Those Are Sails:
Most sails you've seen rely on the wind directly acting against them to provide propulsion. But these new types of sails, known as “rotor sails” rely on a physics principle called the Magnus Effect.
- Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer says intimidation and bullying occurred during Liberal leadership spill - Politics - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):
Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer says she has spoken to both male and female MPs in the wake of the leadership spill and says, "It is clear to me that people were subject to threats and intimidation and bullying".
- Peter Dutton's backers refused to leave Liberal Party members' offices, demanded they reveal votes during spill - Politics - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):
Mr Dutton's backers would enter colleagues' offices uninvited, and sometimes first thing in the morning, and refuse to leave unless they signed the petition to bring on a spill. ... The ABC understands Liberals were also told their preselection would be at risk unless they backed Mr Dutton's challenge and, on the day of the spill, were pressured to show their — supposedly — secret ballot paper to another MP to prove which way they had voted.
- 'Darkness' coming if Scott Morrison not re-elected, Pentecostal leader claims | Australia news | The Guardian:
Thompson, who says he can interpret dreams and that supernatural signs and manifestations accompany his ministry, said he'd received a message from God that Morrison and the Coalition must win the election.
- The Addams Family Secret | The New Yorker
- The Cure's permanent twilight | The Monthly
- These Bizarre Glasses Promise To Cure Your Motion Sickness, But At What Cost? | Gizmodo Australia
- The Blackfly Flying Machine Is So Cool I Don't Mind That I'll Probably Never See It Again
- Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is Bigger and Mostly Made of Fishing Gear:
Microplastics make up 94 percent of an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic in the patch. But that only amounts to eight percent of the total tonnage. As it turns out, of the 79,000 metric tons of plastic in the patch, most of it is abandoned fishing gear—not plastic bottles or packaging drawing headlines today.
- There is no social license for My Health Record. Australians should reject it | Julia Powles | Opinion | The Guardian:
An example of one of the apps already accessing information from My Health Record was revealed by an ABC investigation last month. Health Engine, a booking service part-owned by Telstra Health, has been passing sensitive health information to personal injury lawyers – precisely the kind of opportunistic “entrepreneurship” that would be anathema to patient expectations.
- A New Zealand company that tried 4-day workweeks says people were more creative, more punctual, and more energetic — and they want to keep it going | Business Insider:
“Supervisors said staff were more creative, their attendance was better, they were on time, and they didn't leave early or take long breaks,” one of those researchers told The Times. “Their actual job performance didn't change when doing it over four days instead of five.”
- This 1.8-Mile Train Travels on One of the Most Extreme Railways in the World
- Investing Outside The Bay Area – Haystack.vc:
And, so, I began to ask myself, in the face of intense local inflation for rents, for talent, for simply getting around — are the fundamental of the Bay Area's local conditions simply inhospitable to fledgling startups that I am trying to invest in? Will folks be able to buy a house and raise their families here? Will the Bay Area's cost structure compress the precious runway these newco's have? Will the next company to raise $100M in financing just poach from decent seed-stage companies and pay triple the amount to lock up talent?
- Endometriosis action plan follows decades of lobbying – and suffering | Society | The Guardian
- Coding and confectionary combine to give chocolate lovers a true taste of Sydney - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
- Ontario Basic Income Pilot Cancelled By Minister Lisa MacLeod:
The pilot project, which reached full enrollment in April, was supposed to last three years. ... Asked by reporters how she knows the program isn't working if the data hasn't been studied yet, MacLeod said, "for the amount it was costing the province of Ontario ... it was certainly not going to be sustainable." The project was budgeted to cost $150 million over three years.
- Malcolm Turnbull defends surprise $444 million Government donation to tiny reef body - Politics - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):
Malcolm Turnbull insists the Government's nearly half-a-billion-dollar donation to a private foundation with links to big resources companies has been done transparently, despite the body itself not asking for the money.
- Why Daniel Ricciardo Broke Free of Red Bull:
While it's probably true he could have asked for almost any amount of fizzy drink cash to stay, this is the first time we have ever seen a Red Bull junior leave the programme of their own accord with no complication. ... this makes Daniel's decision to move to Renault so much less surprising. And much more sensible.
- Teenager suffers electric shock while walking near Sydney light rail construction - ABC News. The cursed project staggers onwards.
- Australia's fair work watchdog takes legal action against Foodora | Business | The Guardian:
In what could become a landmark case for the gig economy, the ombudsman is arguing that Foodora workers are entitled to the minimum award wage, and the company should be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for underpayment, sham contracting and breaches of the Fair Work Act.
- I Met Japan's Highway Racers In The Middle Of The Sea
- Blues Brothers Guitarist Matt 'Guitar' Murphy Dead at 88 - Rolling Stone. RIP Matt Guitar Murphy.
- Harry rotters: Warner Bros cracks down on Potter fan festivals in US | Film | The Guardian:
Chestnut Hill isn't the only community to receive cease-and-desist letters from Warner Bros. Festival directors in Aurora, Illinois and Ithaca, New York were also told the new guidelines would prohibit most Potter-themed activities, which are typically free events.
- Food fight over 'traitorous, manipulated mung beans' in meat fridge - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) - traitorous proteins? Future of food, really. People will get over it when it gets cheaper.
- Anthony Albanese lays out his Labor manifesto: reform, growth, aspiration | Australia news | The Guardian. Albo's leadership challenge is a bit overdue.
- 'Welcome to 2018': NRL praised for response to State of Origin kiss | Sport | The Guardian:
The NRL has been widely praised for its response to comments posted below a photo it shared of opponents – and partners – Vanessa Foliaki and Karina Brown sharing a kiss after their State of Origin game on Friday night.
- GLOBAL STREET ART — Amazing transformation of @unionbeerstore in...
- What happened to Sydney's grand plans for a canal from Botany Bay to Sydney Harbour? - Curious Sydney - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
- Why whingeing at work could be good for you - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):
Dr Pouthier is not the first researcher to question the need for relentless positivity at work. Joseph Forgas, a social psychologist at the University of NSW, told Radio National that a mildly negative mood might actually improve performance.
- Universal basic income should be seen as a rightful share of society's wealth - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
- Expo '88, the post-Joh era and Malcolm Fraser's sore back: how Brisbane put the world on show | Books | The Guardian
- Boaters warned of debris after 83 shipping containers fall from cargo ship off NSW coast - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
- This Ferrari Testarossa Rat Rod Is Being Built In A Home Garage
Shark Tank: Contestants fail to net deal once show goes to air:
of the 50 businesses which appeared on Shark Tank last year, 27 received investment from the sharks on television, however only four of these investments actually went ahead
- NSW in constitutional crisis as government MP crosses floor over secret reports | Australia news | The Guardian:
The three reports – the Tune report into child protection services in NSW, the business case for the upgrades of Sydney's two major stadiums, and the business case for moving the Powerhouse museum to Parramatta – have already been ordered to be released [...] But the government has ignored the formal calls for papers saying they were cabinet documents.
- The Cure's Robert Smith: 'I was very optimistic when I was young – now I'm the opposite' | Music | The Guardian
Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef and television presenter, dies aged 61 - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) (pardoning them for mentioning Drumpf, it's an otherwise good piece).
Film Crit Hulk: Anthony Bourdain, Suicide, and Grace | Observer - which is a good if difficult read as it talks honestly about living with depression and suicidal thoughts. It also puts this very well:
For decades Anthony Bourdain graced our pages and television sets as a “host,”—a perfectly inadequate word to describe what he somehow managed to accomplish with the programs of No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Shows which could naively be reduced to being about food or travel, yet were really just brilliant meditations on culture, boundaries, sociology and the human condition.
- The dog squad sniffing out the critically endangered Baw Baw frog - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
- Jordon Steele-John has the loneliest seat in the Senate, and it's locking him out of the parliamentary process - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
- Sydney light rail contractor Acciona suing NSW Government; further delays to construction likely - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):
The firm building Sydney's light rail is taking the NSW Government to court, claiming it is owed more than $1 billion extra
- Mysterious sunstones in medieval Viking texts could really have worked | Ars Technica
- OLPC's $100 laptop was going to change the world — then it all went wrong - The Verge:
He's a big fan of XO-1 laptops — many of which, despite very real technical problems, are still running after ten years. “It blows my mind that that stuff still works,” he says. “The batteries still work, the Wi-Fi still works, and amazingly, OLPC still cranks out the software images for it.”
- The Secret Language of Ships
- How One Joke Explains the “Roseanne” Reboot | The New Yorker:
No one on “Roseanne” has used the word “racist,” let alone lobbed a slur; instead, the show relies on code, such as when Roseanne snarks that Jackie might want to “take a knee,” even as her black granddaughter, Mary (Jayden Ray), sits nearby, an irony no one remarks on. The missing jokes are the show's “tell”: when Jackie fights Roseanne, she takes no real shots at Trump, narrowing the debate to jobs and Hillary, as if the two of them were guests on Hannity. The show's repeated theme is always that Roseanne is not that kind of Trump voter: she's sweet to Mary; she defends Mark against homophobic bullies. You might see this as complexity or as spin. If you're in a darker mood, you might call it propaganda. ... [Conveniently ignoring similar shows] is also what enabled ABC to use the slogan “A Family That Looks Like Us” when selling “Roseanne” to advertisers, a dog whistle so strong that it might have brought Lassie back from the dead.Also: 'Roseanne': When a Punch Line Feels Like a Gut Punch - The New York Times
- Ipswich Council to be sacked as Mayor stands down amid fraud charges - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Mighty mighty Ipswich.
I think what's weird (other than the obvious) is seeing a guitar solo linearised, so to speak - played up and down the keyboard instead across the strings.
- Michael Wolff: My Insane Year Inside Trump's White House | Hollywood Reporter
- RUBBISH! - Willamette Week:
Portland's top brass said it was OK to swipe your garbage--so we grabbed theirs.
- What's With All The Dental Floss in IBM's Quantum Computers?
- This Glorious Madman Stuffed A Tesla Drivetrain Into A 1981 Honda Accord
- NSW Intercity fleet: New trains too wide for tunnels:
But Transport for NSW (TfNSW), the Government body that manages the state's rail system, has come up with a cunning plan. It has proposed simply relaxing current safety standards.Muppets. Absolute fucking muppets.
- Why Your Favorite Car Channels Are Getting Fed Up With YouTube and Building The Wall - Who is going to pay for it? – Mighty Car Mods ... gets into the details of Motor Trend taking their content behind a pay wall. There is an ongoing issue where YouTube content creators report that they aren't making enough money to keep going, even when they get very high viewer counts. You'd expect 1m+ views per episode to translate to some good revenue, but apparently it's not working out that way.
- Australian outrage over ball tampering born out of team's moralising hypocrisy | Kate O'Halloran | Sport | The Guardian:
Even some of its darkest moments, such as the underarm delivery from Trevor Chappell, may have flown in the face of the spirit, but not the laws, of the game. This incident has changed all that, which explains what outsiders might perceive as hysteria from down under. Ironically, given its moral failings in so many areas of international politics, Australia has always considered itself an upstanding sporting nation. No longer, however, can its citizens stomach the piousness of a group of hypocrites.and Cricket Australia ball tampering: Steve Smith's deficient leadership exposed:
Very few of the people who have ripped into Smith these past few days particularly care about the condition of the ball in a cricket match. What they do care about is the character of the Australian team, which has been exposed as deeply rotten.
- Ajit Pai faces heat over proposal to take away poor people's broadband plans | Ars Technica:
Pai's plan would prevent all resellers from participating in Lifeline, limiting the subsidies to "facilities-based broadband" providers, those that operate their own networks. The proposal has drawn widespread condemnation from both liberals and conservatives ... Pai claimed that kicking resellers out of the program would spur facilities-based carriers to invest in their broadband networks. But his proposal offered no evidence for this claim.
- BBC Radio 3 - Music and Memory - Why the music we love as teens stays with us for life
- Real Guns, Virtual Guns, And Me:
I'm knowledgeable about firearms to a degree that frequently clashes with how I feel about them in the real world. I don't want a gun in my home, but I can differentiate between 5.56mm and .30-06 ammunition on sight. I think America's gun laws are ludicrously lax, and yet I can confidently tell you the difference between an ACOG and a reflex sight. I get nervous when I'm in the airport and see soldiers with assault rifles, but I can probably tell you what kind of rifles they're holding. I know about a lot of gun stuff in part because of the movies and TV shows I watch, but mainly because of the video games I play.
- Amazon Wants To Protect People From Falling Drones By Making Them Self-Destruct | Gizmodo Australia. Ahh the ambience of future cities, where you can sit back, relax and listen to drones gently exploding in the distance.
- I Made My Shed the Top Rated Restaurant On TripAdvisor And then served customers Iceland ready meals on its opening night. - VICE
- A Car Collector's Modern Residence by Matt Fajkus Architecture - Design Milk
- THE KRANE: An Old Coal Crane Becomes a One Room Hotel for Two - Design Milk
- Nihilistic kid leaves the bleakest letter for Santa saying his 'life is empty' | Metro News:
Dear Santa, I'm only doing this for the class. I know your naughty list is empty. And your good list is empty. And your life is empty. You don't know the trouble I've had in my life. Goodbye.
- 'The difficulty is the point': teaching spoon-fed students how to really read | Books | The Guardian
- NBN protester's problem solved by police called to remove him from Telstra store:
When the store called security, and then police, to have him removed from the store, he was surprised by what happened next. The three officers [...] started negotiating with Telstra staff on Mr Dooley's behalf.Apparently the NBN is so stuffed you need police negotiators to get connected.
- 'Kernel memory leaking' Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign %u2022 The Register: (also impacts OSX, it's unclear what that's not in the headline). If nothing else, read it for this gem:
The fix is to separate the kernel's memory completely from user processes using what's called Kernel Page Table Isolation, or KPTI. At one point, Forcefully Unmap Complete Kernel With Interrupt Trampolines, aka FUCKWIT, was mulled by the Linux kernel team, giving you an idea of how annoying this has been for the developers.
- (note that the song is arranged by the artist, but the sounds are produced by an AI combining samples)
Backstory if you care. Entirely optional:
- Severed Heads - Dead Eyes Opened (Love Experiment) (Love Experiment isn't available on YouTube at the moment; so the 1994 remix will suffice as Tom Ellard's just uploaded a good quality copy :)). We saw Severed Heads and Itch E and Scratch E live. Hell of a fun gig, felt like a big party.
- Itch E and Scratch E - Other Planets. Profane and fun. Part of a brilliant set.
- System of a Down - Sad Statue. Just a track that really grabbed me as I was driving around the deep northern suburbia of Sydney, picking up an ebay purchase for a mate. So this feels like bombing around semi-bushland with the radio cranked up. Nothing more or less :)
- Living Colour - Cult Of Personality. Saw them live, finally! One of those bands I thought I'd never actually see, having missed them a few times. Awesome gig at The Metro.
- The Algorithm - Autorun. I'd been listening to this a bit and had posted a couple of tracks somewhere. So a mate pinged me to see if I was interested in seeing them live - lucky since I didn't know about the gig! It wasn't a question, of course I went.
- Voyager - Misery Is Only Company. A great gig moment - The Algorithm were part of the lineup for Voyager's album launch. Being a Sunday night there was a moment we weren't sure if we'd call it a night having seen what we'd come for. But L and I had missed Voyager supporting Deftones last year, so I figured give it a couple of songs... and there was no way I was leaving after that. It was an awesome set, the crowd and band pumped and bouncing off each others energy. They even commented at one point that Sydney on a Sunday night was putting other cities to shame ;)
- Skunkhour - Sunstone. After the fun of last year's Skunkhour gig, we were back with bells on for Feed. The night didn't disappoint, great energy and a crowd in full voice.
- DJ Shadow - Nobody Speak. Really hard to pick a track from this. We saw DJ Shadow supposedly 'opening' for The Avalanches on the Opera House forecourt (harbour side), but he was by far the standout of the night(*). There were tracks off Endtroducing that I'd wanted to hear live for perhaps 20 years... it was almost overwhelming for it to finally happen. But as the show was for The Mountain Must Fall I eventually plumped for this one to go in the yearly list, particularly with the mad film clip that's a reflection of contemporary politics.
- Beth Orton - Moon. We saw Beth Orton in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, a headline show for Vivid Live. It was a gorgeous gig, it seemed a little unreal. I listened to this track a lot leading up to the show.
- Mint Royale - Blue Song. I think this clip was mentioned somewhere almost being a pilot for the movie Baby Driver. But with a catchy hook and a great clip with Noel Fielding lip synching I played this a bunch of times.
- The Hillbilly Moon Explosion - My Love For Evermore. A track I'd run into on a huge rockabilly playlist ages ago, but got a bit obsessed with when I heard it again.
- Dan Sultan - Hold It Together. A crazy night with the gig interrupted by a fire alarm and full evacuation of The Metro. Genuinely a full evac as the crowd realised the band was in the back alley with them. One thing leads to another and we end up with a sing-along of Hold It Together. The building was cleared and we went back in... the band reprised this song and the crowd went nuts.
- Caiti Baker - Thursday. Debut album came out and this is the track that stuck in my head the most. Soul meets trip hop :)
- Leo Moracchioli featuring Rabea & Hannah - Africa (Toto cover). So much fun. After posting some of Leo's covers, we spent the best part of a day on twitter with people mining the back catalogue and posting them back :)
- Leo Moracchioli featuring Rabea & Hannah - the Africa outro. Leo's outros are usually silly, but in this case they made a whole extra song and the comments are full of people asking them to release this separately.
- Rag'n'Bone Man - Human. L grabbed me to come and listen to to this. Pulled up the video of an unlikely looking lad and a song starts slowly, but about a minute in when he really lets it out... just wow.
* No Avalanches track in this list despite the gig. It was a big musical moment for this year, but not a happy one. Their show wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great either. It made me realise the new incarnation is simply a different band; and not an even an Aussie band. They weren't excited to play in front of the Opera House, they sing about the 'subway', all of their references are American and that's the market they want. This isn't a problem (good luck to them!), it just means that the band I loved doesn't exist any more; and the notion that they are an 'aussie band' should be left to history. The specific gig left a bad taste as it was billed as Since I Left You played in full; and actually it was just their usual new-album set with a couple of old tracks grudgingly thrown in. Half the band looked bored with the old material, which isn't a surprise really given they had nothing to do with it.
That one duff note (hah) notwithstanding, it was a great year for music. Saw a bunch of great gigs including a couple that were decades overdue (DJ Shadow and Living Colour); and found new artists, both new-new and new-to-me. Pretty much what you want as a music geek :)
Labels: mix tape
While I was at uni, in the heady early days of the web, I followed a few exceptionally ranty proto-blogs. Nobody used the word 'blog' yet, they were just episodic 'home pages'. I didn't agree with all of them, but I certainly loved the fire in the belly that drove them.
The original sites are all gone, but there are a few that other people somehow kept copies of and reposted. They meant enough to someone out there to spend the time to archive it. To preserve something from the early web wild west. Of course these mirrors are also ephemeral. They too shall pass.
There are three things to be said about music:
- Some music almost everybody likes. It is meant to be that way. It is music made primarily for money, and everybody likes it because everybody else likes it. This is where bad music comes from.
- Some music almost nobody likes. It is meant to be that way. It is music made primarily as a reaction to music that everyone likes, and of the few people who do listen to it, only very few truly love it. This is where OK music comes from.
- Some music some people like. It is meant to be that way. It is music made primarily because these musicians don’t know what else to do with themselves. This is where good music comes from.
This remains one of the best things I've ever read about music. The whole post is good but this has stuck in my brain well enough that I could nearly quote it verbatim somewhere in the region of 15-20 years later.
It's not just music of course. People have passions that don't make sense. They have things they need to get out of their heads, because that's how their heads work. They write, paint, shoot video, write code, make music, build things. When you're exceptionally lucky your passion also makes you a living. For many their passion does not make money and so they count the minutes when they can leave the grind and get back to their life.
Yeah those three things to be said about music have inherent judgement in them. That will no doubt upset a few who truly like popular music, just like the beer drinker who has sampled every craft beer and genuinely prefers a commercial lager. But it is really just a fact that pop music of every era (and the pop end of any genre) is produced to be popular.
Just as blind tests show the major beers are indistinguishable, mainstream music is algorithmically same-y. It is produced to a formula that can be unpicked with a rudimentary understanding of music theory.
The Blind Wino post reflects a pre-streaming era where music discovery was harder and more expensive. You couldn't just fire up Spotify and click the related bands and listen to their most popular tracks. But on the other hand I think these days it's harder to form a decent connection to an artist's work, because you are directed to the most popular songs from their entire back catalogue. The awesome b-sides and album lurkers may not bubble up, because even for less mainstream music they are still data-driven.
When you hit the Spotify listing for The Cure, the top song by a mile is Friday I'm In Love and the top ten is mostly the happy boppy tracks. If you know the back catalogue you'll know most of The Cure's stuff is not happy and boppy. This leads to some incredibly confused (and bored) people at gigs who truly don't know what to do during the fifteen-minute version of A Forest.
So algorithms don't save us, because their data still weight heavily to popularity... to say nothing of most music services still promoting things entirely separately from algorithms anyway. iTunes and Spotify consistently tell me about new pop releases on their banner pages - stuff I have never listened to and basically never will. But labels are still buying popularity by telling people which artists to like.
In the old days you'd dig through crates of music at a local store; if you were lucky they'd let you listen to them for a while before you bought them. I spent a lot of time in my youth holding broken headphones together, with the volume cranked up trying to get a sense is this album for me? I found trash and treasure this way.
These days you still have to dig down into the earlier releases. Keep scrolling until Spotify stops loading new albums. See what bubbles up on YouTube. Kick off custom radio stations using seed playlists to see what it can make of aggregated data. Avoid the 'new releases' tab in Spotify and ignore the iTunes homepage - there is no data behind those recommendations; and you won't find anything that way that you won't hear on commercial radio blaring into every public space you visit.
We are yet to reach the era of post-label music. Patreon's investors wanted to crank up the fees and you still need to be well known before you can Kickstarter your way to recording an album. Artists still have to produce work that algorithms like, to get to the front page of Youtube or get reposted on Facebook, to drive subscribers and build a base. It's a new grind that at least has less smelly vans than touring pubs in Bumblefuck, Nowhereville... but you probably have to do that too, because most musicians actually want to perform to a room full of actual people and not just the recording LED on a digital camera.
Meanwhile fans know that nothing beats a gig. You can never ever get the same feeling watching a recording as you get in the moment, in the heat and energy, treading down the dropped beer cans and screaming for an encore. Plus the artist probably makes more from that cheap, formaldehyde-stinking tshirt you bought than they did from the past year's streaming royalties. Just like they used to make more from merch than they did from you buying their CDs.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.