I’m a musician and a writer. I post almost entirely music or book related content on Instagram, I interact with music or book related accounts. For some reason, the algorithm has decided that I should be exclusively served ads about how to build a six figure coaching business. As far as I know, I’ve never expressed any interest in doing this.
At first, I just ignored these ads. Maybe I signed up for something or liked some post or followed some account that set the algorithm off. I figured it would show me these ads for a day or so and then go back to showing me gadgets and musical accessories… items that I often impulse buy right in the app.
But no. For the past 7 weeks I’ve seen nothing but ads about how to tailor my pitch and create the perfect funnel in order to land high value clients for my coaching business. Or, ads about how funnels don’t really work, and I need to invest in organic reach.
I’m assuming ‘funnels’ are some high concept metaphor; some industry jargon that I don’t know because, again, I’m not interested in being a coach.
But maybe I’m wrong about my interest. The algorithms developed by companies like Instagram are some of the most sophisticated distillations of big data in history. They are proven to manipulate human behavior. Stories of non-pregnant women, confused at being served pregnancy related ads only to find out later that they are, in fact, pregnant surface all the time. Sometimes, the algorithms knows you better than you know yourself.
Algorithmic intelligence is better than human intelligence at making sense of the many tiny breadcrumbs we leave as we move across the connected world. Maybe the data about my behavior on the internet has concluded that coaching is something I should be interested in. All that’s left is for my consciousness to catch up with the math.
If I’m being honest, repeated exposure to advertising works. The more I see those ads about coaching, the more I think, “maybe I would like to start a six-figure business in my own home”. Even though I already have a thriving business in my home… making music… and I’ve accomplished this without even knowing what a funnel is.
This is why I’m both optimistic and terrified about the future of music. Many different companies have spent millions of dollars over several decades to understand your music preferences. A glance to your Spotify “Discover Weekly” playlist, will tell you that they’re getting pretty good at it. They know what you like.
There are also music companies that use AI to generate pretty decent sounding music. Once they put these technologies together and serve you this machine-made music, in a style you love, repeatedly; you may start to enjoy it. Repeated exposure breeds familiarity. You may like it enough to stop listening to human made music… then I won’t have a thriving music-making business in my own home anymore… and I’ll have to start coaching… OMG I see their plan now! [frantically googles funnels].