Yesterday I went to an ice-skating birthday party, and got to observe a whole slew of kids born after 1990 being subjected to music of the 70s and 80s. We parents were having a good time, and hey, we're paying the rental fees. So the post title is from that stroll through the zeitgeist of the 80s. But the post is about something very now, very happening, baby!
Scientists at Columbia University (Michael Mandel and Dan Ellis) have designed an online experiment on music cognition. Big deal, you say, we've seen that before. But here is the kicker: the experiment is set up as a game! Listen to a clip of music, and come up with tags describing that music. Earn points for originality and conformity. You get two points for coming up with a tag first, which other listeners also use. Earn one point for being the second person to use the same tag. Zero points for being a hanger-on. Play as often as you like, for as long as you like. And you can earn points while not playing, if others agree with your mind-blowing tags. Due to Columbia's rules on human subject testing, you can only participate if you are at least 18 years old. But the registration process is minimal, and the game is somewhat fun. I'm up to 5 points right now, well below the leader who is two orders of magnitude above me (damn you Paul!) So log on and copy my tags. Don't tell me you can't read my mind from there! You already know my music personality.