Monday, January 21, 2008


What shall I play?

Here’s an interesting idea. New Scientist tells us about a prototype system developed at UCLA:

Ever had a party ruined by your host’s atrocious taste in music? Then you might welcome a system that polls the musical preferences of party-goers and creates a playlist to keep everyone happy.

Developed by computer scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, US, the Smart Party system relies on people carrying Wi-Fi-enabled music-playing devices.

Software running on each device beams each user’s playlist to a nearby computer, which is connected to an amp and speakers.

The computer takes a poll of titles to work out the most popular genre and can also copy and play tracks from each device. It can then play music from the most popular overall music genre or tracks supplied by each party-goer in turn.

Of course, there are obvious privacy issues here, with reading the playlists from people’s music players, along with copyright issues, if they copy the music from the players, or even if they just play it directly at an event where the DJ is paid.

But if it’s just a question of reading the playlists of people who’ve opted into the system, that could be very cool. A system that would do that, and then pick music that’s similar to what the people in attendance already like would be sure to be playing the right sort of music and would also expose people to related music that they might not already be familiar with. Everyone wins.

This seems like a very cool idea.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Fascinating. I recently read Eastern Standard Tribe, by Cory Doctorow. The main character designs a similar system for use on major highways in which your car's music player accesses the playlists of every car within wireless range. Wonder if that's where they got the idea?