Monday, May 26, 2008

I want a magical jukebox (that doubles as a washing machine?)

The more I pay attention and ask and read (in that order of importance), the more diversity I see in how people discover and consume music. For the first time in history, we have choice. Music is, and the forms in which to consume it are, more abundant today than ever before.
As many online music services seek to refine their methods for our music playing and discovery pleasure, I'd like to offer my own personal ideal:
  • I generally prefer my standard listening and discovery modes to be separate. Then again, not always. When I want them together, I generally just have my standard listening device (for these purposes, we'll call it "myTunes") on random. Make me a checkbox when I have random on to say whether or not I want random reccomended tracks inserted (and a slide bar with 3 states: often, sometimes, rarely).
  • My friends are more likely to get what songs I'll want than you are or than "other fans" are. And bands I like a lot are more likely still to get it right than my friends. Ask them--they know music pretty well, and I generally respect their opinions. Oh and hey, while you're at it, make sure I can find out why something was reccomended to me.
  • Speaking of random, this state (as it has become such, rather than just a feature) should pay closer attention to me. Am I clicking to the next song often? What have I been stopping on recently? Am I clicking off certain songs nearly every time? What songs have I been playing actively recently? Pay particular attention to my reaction (play a lot vs click away from immediately) to reccomended songs and play more or fewer from the source of the reccomendation based on my reactions. Sometimes I like rating things, but not often when random is on.
  • I want to be able to share my music from where I am (in myTunes). Sometimes I want to just share one song, sometimes I want to share a bunch of songs at once. The other person doesn't need an mp3, just a stream (a full stream, without having to register).
  • Songs like the ones I recently shared or put into playlists or have been playing a lot recently should play more often on random (including, but only occasionally, other songs by that artist).

Get on that. If I was smarter at programming and algorithms, I'd build my own version of Songbird. Perhaps there is a market there? Looking into the future where all music is free and computers are merely portals to the internet where files exist in a cloud, will the market be in custom built music portals, tailored specifically to your listening preferences? Probably not, but it's worth throwing out there--I think you'll see a growing long tail of market-quality music players and reccomendation engines.

Note: Bonus points to anyone identifying the reference in the title.

3 comments:

Nat said...

I thought you wanted a washing machine that had a built-in jukebox. isn't that what you asked me to build you?

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