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Thursday, January 25, 2007

More on Recommendation Radio

My Recommendations seems supercharged today. It's taking me off in all sorts of unexpected directions. Recently played include the following bands I know very little about, but to my surprise am finding it easy to love all the same:
  • The Shins
  • Bloc Party
  • Interpol
  • Mark Ronson
  • Death Cab for Cutie
  • The Ventures

It's strange, because upto now the system has been quite predictable, easing me gently away from my standard fare. Today's plays however take me far further. Not sure why. Did I tilt the database with one particular choice the last time I was listening? Is there a threshold of knowledge without which the database can do very little for you? Is it like learning Japanese?

Or indeed any language?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Insatiable

This software is quite insatiable, in the sense that it only works if you use it quite heavily. If you don't, it seems to run out of recommendations, and you have to move over from the My Recommendations station to Neighbourhood Radio.

I'm now back on Recommendations and for the moment receiving quite a varied diet.

Ah!

As I write, the program tells me there is not enough content to continue, so I've clicked back on to Neighbourhood Radio. Do the gods listen to Last.fm?

I'd still love to do the same thing for political thought.

:-(

Monday, January 08, 2007

Creating a Musical Profile, Breaking Down the Walls of Prejudice

I'm beginning to build up a musical profile on Last.fm - about 40 tracks listened to, quite a few where I've expressed my love for them. I thought I had quite narrow tastes in music, yet the music Last.fm brings to my attention seems little by little to be breaking down my prejudices, expanding my horizons quite substantially.

I recognise the names and begin to associate them with real sounds. There is just so much good music out there - I never really appreciated how much.

In fact, creating a musical profile like this is, in a way, like playing a musical instrument. Touching here, edging there, creating a landscape of meaning, exploring meaning. Its interactivity and revelatory qualities mimic the artistic process. There is a curious artistry in profiling.

Friday, January 05, 2007

How Deaf I've Been All These Years

I've been playing with the Last.fm tools these past couple of days. I like a number of things about them. Firstly, much of them are free. Some buttons on the software make a message pop up which says the service is available only to subscribers, though I still haven't worked out how to become one.

It's strange how important "monetising" free services has become - and how difficult becoming a Last.fm "monetisee" seems to be!

Secondly, it encourages you not only to listen but also read around your comfort zones. This technology could surely be applied to many other areas of knowledge. Political thought comes to mind, but any other subject of burning interest could come under its umbrella.

Thirdly, I'm not only listening to and reading about others but also learning about myself as I do so. Self-revelation is very gratifying. This software gratifies.

These are the main reasons I'm finding Last.fm fascinating. I'd love to take its database and apply it to other fields. In the meantime, I'm just enjoying the music and realising how deaf I've been all these years.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Last.fm

This article and audio interview are interesting as they explain the technologies and thinking behind the Last.fm site.

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