This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Walkman

In the last twenty years there has been a huge transformation in the way we listen to music. It started with the Sony Walkman which enabled us to carry ten or so songs of our choosing in our pocket. From there we moved to mp3 players – my first one only held about ten songs – to larger and larger iPods, to iPhones and other connected mobile devices. With those, today’s music lover has access to millions of songs in a wide variety of genres by an enormous number of artists.

Now the challenge is to find the music they want to listen to.

Flickr credit Marcin Wichary

Platforms like Pandora’s Genome and iTunes’ Genius systems have created music recommender systems that attempt to analyze current personal music tastes based on data provided by the listener, and recommend similar new artists or tracks. But what if you want to listen on another platform, or find music that is more eclectic than those platforms might be?

There’s a lot more to be done on the creation of music recommender services, according to WOMRAD, the Workshop on Music Recommendation and Discovery, recently convened in Barcelona, Spain. Tools can focus on social tagging, human interaction via computer, content analysis and time of day listening patterns to analyze data and enable better management of larger and larger music collections.

The documents presented at this symposium are available here.

Ironically, Sony last week announced that it has stopped making the Sony Walkman. RIP…

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