A little over a month ago I visited last.fm in their very east Londonish office. Talking to the team, I got to know about some really cool things that they have in store for the future. Unfortunately I’m not allowed to talk about it here…
Mischa, Martin and Johan at last.fm.
One of the things they’re already doing though, is spidering (both manually and automatically) P2P networks, constantly feeding the radio database with terabytes of new material. Since they have a valid radio license, it’s fully legal!
This reminded me about what I wrote in 2003:
“Now, if file sharing apps would implement the cache model and rareness indexing I’m currently emulating manually, so that songs I never play are purged automatically from my local node and downloaded again upon request or automatically as their rareness indexes drops below critical, and if we could implement a way of auto-discovering other people with similar tastes by comparing my collection with theirs, it would make it even harder for commercial alternatives. Not to say if we’d come up with a cross-P2P search engine working on Google principles — “Yoodle”!”
Indy — a fairly new, client based “competitor” to last.fm — actually has a very simple caching functionality, resembling what I spoke of above. It basically dedicates more space for music relative to the rating you give it; 5 star music gets 1GB, 4 star gets 500MB, 3 star gets 100MB, etc. The cache is then FIFO-purged automatically.
Alas, I never got convinced by Indy since the music it plays simply is too bad. I believe the base of CC-licensed music actually isn’t there yet in terms of quality. I ended up pressing the 1 star button for every track, desperately hoping for the collaborative filtering system to find something good for me — but it never happened. I think I had one 3 star track out of 25 bad ones…
So I’m back to last.fm for now, thinking it would be very cool if we could somehow integrate last.fm with Indy, getting the best of both worlds.