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Dr. Dre Does Leadership, Kind Of

I guess you read about Apple buying Dr. Dre and Beats? Something to add to the fading Apple cool factor?

I think I am swimming against the tide on this one, but streaming music doesn’t sound to me like the next frontier. It’s already here, there are lots of players and it’s becoming commoditized. Amazon, of course, just got involved. Did you notice that even Honda has just got into the act too? Can the NSA be far behind?

That’s why Apple needs to buy a streaming service with a rapper behind it, to up the difference. At least, that’s my view.

That’s not to say there aren’t some cool things happening in the world of music. From my point of view though they revolve around the things I generally tend to focus on in leadership and management.

To wit, there’s a lot going on in the area of neuroscience and music. Only problem; we don’t really understand what it all means just yet. It’s an emerging field and we are just starting to realize that a lot of things that we didn’t think were connected actually are.

How about behavioral finance and music, for one? Sound too way out there? Yet it’s starting to look awfully like music preferences – part of our neural makeup and studied by neuroscience – might reflect our (many) unconscious cognitive biases, some of which are expressed through our decision-making.

In other words, our music preferences might be a reflection of our decision-making and leadership style. Taking a music test might actually be used to predict our leadership styles and outcomes. Take that, Beethoven!

Over the years I have noticed that many people I know who were musicians when they were young, turned out to be entrepreneurial and went on to found a disproportionate – at least in my experience – number of companies. They often had personalities like Bill Clinton, a famous saxophone player as a young blade.

It might be that there’s a whole new world here of leadership testing using music as a tool. Could a test be developed based on music to identify someone’s leadership outcomes? A musical Myers-Briggs test?

It could also be that the cognitive biases that lead us to prefer certain types of music also reflect particular types of decision-making styles that lead to us making or losing money. So that music could be a backdoor way of predicting financial outcomes by individuals and even companies run by particular individuals.

And if we accept that this might be possible, and then it opens the way for financial predictions at the macroeconomic level based on music preferences too. So the Eurovision Song Contest can be used to predict the short-term future of the Eurozone economies. Mozart for inflation, Rachmaninoff for deflation maybe?

If that were the case, then we could start using patterns of audience preferences in streaming music to predict certain commercial patterns and parameters a la Facebook profiles as viewed by Big Data. In other words, music streaming could also lead to demand predictions across a universe of products and services.

Is that why Amazon et al are getting involved?

And these same patterns could also be utilized to analyze patterns of social and political interactions. Violins for well-functioning societies, drums for warlike ones, saxophones for social democrats? Church organs for conservatives?

Of course, these are only wild speculations on my part. But my feeling is that in the explosion of streaming music services, we are opening up ultra-powerful new vistas for exploring human thought patterns and ways of analyzing human competencies and potential that has never been used before.

Just as Big Data can show us new patterns of human commercial action, so can music streaming open up the human psyche to new types of Big Data analysis which will predict social, political and financial patterns which we can at present only dimly suspect.

The Music of the Spheres has been a cultural meme over the past two millennia at least. Johannes Kepler used it to help derive his laws of planetary motion. According to this idea, music reflects underlying patterns in life and the universe.

I think we are getting close to the confluence of mass music via streaming, neuroscience, computer science and Big Data to put a practical form to the Music of the Spheres.

I think Dr. Dre would really dig it.




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