I would prefer that music not seem an afterthought, or the result of algorithmic computation. I want it chosen by a person who knows music up and down and sideways: its context, its dynamism and its historical and aural clichés. Such a person can at least accomplish the minimum, which is to signal to the customer that attention is being paid, in a generous, original, specific and small-ego way.
It's interesting how the author assumes all other playlists are assembled with utmost carelessness. I worked at PlayNetwork and the guy who put playlists together for Abercrombie & Fitch? Yeah, founded the Decibel festival. Guy who programmed Starbuck's? Former member of Tower of Power. Vespertine in LA commissioned a soundtrack by This Will Destroy You. Amusingly enough, all of that music has mechanical royalties tracked which means the artists whose music is used are getting paid, unlike Sakamoto's playlist.
I'm a fan of Ryuchi Sakamoto. But the NY Times isn't making the case that this is anything other than Ryuchi Sakamoto hating the music at the place he sips miso soup.