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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Sir Winston Churchill

9.18.2008

iTunes Genius

Just installed the new version of iTunes with its Genius feature. Basically, it's an excuse for iTunes to collect information on your music library the better to market new iTunes content to you. It is an evolution of the Smart Playlist feature where some sort of metadata associated with the tracks in your music library is fed into a search type algorithm to provide a recommendations list, much like your purchases at Amazon.com feed a recommendations list there.

How it works:

After initial activation, you select a song from your music library and hit the Genius button. It generates a list of 25-100 songs which are somehow related to your song. You can make playlists of this.

At the same time, it fills an iTunes store sidebar with selections for purpose, ostensibly similarly related to the song you selected.

Let's see how it did with 3 songs from my collection.

"Just Got Paid" by ZZ Top - driving Texas boogie

30 Days in the Hole 4:05 Humble Pie
Heard It On The X 2:29 ZZ Top
Snortin' Whiskey 3:25 Pat Travers
Hair of the Dog 4:09 Nazareth
The Needle and the Spoon 3:54 Lynyrd Skynyrd
Wang Dang Sweet Poontang 3:17 Ted Nugent
Dreams I'll Never See 7:09 Molly Hatchet
Jailbreak 4:44 Thin Lizzy
El Diablo 4:22 ZZ Top
Man On The Silver Mountain 4:40 Rainbow
Take the Highway 6:12 The Marshall Tucker Band
Ain't Wastin' Time No More 3:35 The Allman Brothers Band
Never Been Any Reason 5:11 Head East
Train, Train 3:35 Blackfoot
Space Truckin´ 19:54 Deep Purple
There Goes Another Love Song 3:04 The Outlaws
Godzilla 3:43 Blue Ă–yster Cult
I Ain't The One 3:38 Lynyrd Skynyrd
Heavy Metal 3:52 Sammy Hagar
Flirtin' With Disaster 5:01 Molly Hatchet
Red House [Live] 13:08 The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Don't Ask Me No Questions 3:27 Lynyrd Skynyrd
The Core 9:14 Eric Clapton
Take Your Whiskey Home 3:12 Van Halen

Looks like iTunes may be leaning heavily on genre (lots of southern and blues rock) augmented probably with similar purchase data. The Humble Pie selection is interesting as it begins with a little a cappella screwing around before settling into a rather Top-esque vocal. The Clapton tune isn't one I would have connected to "Just Got Paid", but I was shocked to listen to it and find the main riff is very similar. Hmmmmmm.

"Hey" by The Pixies


Holland, 1945 3:13 Neutral Milk Hotel
I Wanna Be Adored 4:52 The Stone Roses
Lucky 4:20 Radiohead
Straight To Hell 7:25 The Clash
Devil's Haircut 3:14 Beck
Heroin 12:20 Lou Reed
Red Right Hand 6:11 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Castles Made Of Sand 2:47 The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Malibu 3:50 Hole Celebrity Skin
Sweet Thing 4:28 Van Morrison
Naked Eye 4:41 Luscious Jackson
Debaser 2:53 Pixies Doolittle
Bring On The Night 5:16 The Police
People Who Died 5:00 Jim Carroll Band
Alabama Song 3:20 The Doors
I'm Waiting for the Man 4:47 The Velvet Underground
The Guns Of Brixton 3:11 The Clash
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea 3:22 Neutral Milk Hotel
Headache 2:52 Frank Black
Do You Realize?? 3:33 The Flaming Lips
Fools Gold 9:54 The Stone Roses
Gigantic 3:13 Pixies
Age of Consent 5:13 New Order
Is This It 2:35 The Strokes

Okay, somewhere in the bowels of iTunes must be a subgenre called "Alternative Critical Darlings" since that's how most of the bands on this list would be classified. The Police tune makes no sense to me---a miss in my view. The New Order track fits much better. The Strokes selection is weird enough to make the cut. WordGirl will be shocked to find Van Morrison related to The Pixies in any way, shape, or form, although I have caught her listening to this song when she didn't think I was around.

A final challenge, then.

"Beethoven's Symphony No 9 in D Minor, Op 125 - "Choral" IV.iii Presto" by Gewandhausorchester Leipzig & Kurt Masur

No matches. Damn straight----there's nothing like it.

An interesting toy---I must play with it.

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