Yenya's World

Tue, 07 Feb 2006

Computer-generated playlists

I own a decent collection of music (mostly CDs, but also vinyl and a few tapes), and I wonder whether there is a way to make the computer select what to play in any intelligent (= better than random) manner. I don't have time to "just listen" to one of my favourite albums these days, I just want some background music at work or in the car.

There are "social-network" sites such as or iRATE radio, but I think I want something different. just suggest what other music the user may like, but I have to get it myself. iRATE radio is limited to a freely-distributable music.

Another approach are song-rating systems like PyTone (stupid name, isn't it? guess in which language is it written :-), LongPlayer, or IMMS. These can select "what to play next", but unlike the "social network" sites, it cannot suggest "what else I might like". Moreover, none of these tools seem to work with the player I use, mpd.

I think what I want is to add the rating system to the mpd back-end, and maybe a minimal rating support to the network protocol and clients (just "now play by ratings from all available songs" command, and maybe "display/change the rating of this song"). Mpd is probably flexible enough to make this working even as a separate client/daemon. The in-server solution would allow to do some neat things, though - such as per-user rating, and selecting what to play based on the ratings of all currently logged-in users.

The sad thing is that I don't have time to implement this. Anyone interested? I have created a theme for bachelors' thesis (authenticated page for MU students only, sorry) about this, so maybe some student will take this as an interesting challenge.

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