Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Almost Genius

I've been experimenting a little with iTunes' 8 new feature Genius. Specifically the Genius playlist feature that creates a playlist in your music collection based on one seed track. I don't think the smarts have been revealed yet, but the gist is that it's matching based on the complete iTunes library, mixed with ratings and playlists from other listeners and then comparing with your tracks and preferences. I did one with Viva la Vida and got quite a predictable but refreshing auto playlist of more unusual tracks from bands like Spoon and Radiohead. The one I'm listening to now was based on a Life Stories from Just Jack and it's picked up tracks from Babyshambles & Cat Power - interesting, but also mixed in Jamie Lidell (odd).

The one thing that made me a little uncomfortable was that you to share your library with Apple when you switch on Genius. As I said in
Mark Evans' blog:

I’m just beginning to play with Genius, but I definitely have some reservations about sharing my library, especially since many of my downloads are from gray area sources and they “kindly” embed an MP3 tag showing the source that I’m now sharing. In the big picture, I’m pretty comfortable with the big boys keeping my info private, but the dark side possibilities are there !

What I actually did was clear the references to legalsounds and allofmp3 from the comment meta data tags before switching on Genius.

So, Genius isn't really a genius, but it does make some interesting choices and, if nothing else, provides a new way to automatically create pseudo random, but focused playlists. And I'm amazed how fast it works. I like it.

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