Posts tagged ‘lastfm’

Cloudy mother of a jukebox! Dreaming of my future music player.

March 20th, 2008

With recent iTunes rumors floating around, here’s what I hope my future music player will be like:

  • It will look very much like a mix between Songbird, SoundCloud, Last.fm and Spotify.
  • It’s not really a piece of software, rather it’s a service. It stores playlists, music and social graph data in the cloud, with open interfaces so that my friends and their players can know about my music.
  • I can drag and drop any song link on it. If the link is, say, a SoundCloud song url, the player sniffs the hAudio on that page and caches an mp3-stream locally. It loads my friends’ comments on the song as well. I can surf the web much like in Songbird and save links (=songs) in my playlists as I encounter them.
  • It will have an oversized local cache, that I don’t have to think about. There is no explicit handling of files. The only thing my player handles are links of all kinds. Links to songs or collections of songs (It does not have to be explicit links to files however). I can take any of these links and pass on to my friends.
  • There will be an open service (or several, ..and soon!) with unique urls to every song in the world (e.g. http://songs.ru/USPR37300012), that serve metadata and pointers to where files can be found (e.g. http://soundcloud.com/forss/soulhack.mp3). I can drag any song link to a playlist–my player identifies the song and tries to fetch it using the above-mentioned service and/or other means (it could (even) ask me to buy it). If it can’t find the actual song file it still saves a pointer and metadata for it. That way I can keep and share my playlists/bookmarks without having to care if I have the actual file or not.
  • My player keeps my cache in good condition. It periodically checks for broken links, etc.
  • There’s no “sync to mobile device”. Rather, the mobile device has its own interface to the cloud service and handles caching/streaming by itself. My playlists can be accessed from anywhere and are updated instantly.
  • I can browse and play my library from my linux-based uPnP device as well, from whereever.
  • It can do things like show a smart playlist with an activity stream style feed of what my friends have been listening to.
  • With it I can build a song library over time that goes way back, much like del.icio.us does for links. My library can grow over 5, or 20 years. It’s just a collection of pointers. In the future, when better audio formats are available, my player silently refreshes its cache with FLAC files, or 5.1 24 bit surround files.
  • It differs from iTunes or Spotify in the sense that it is open. Open.
  • It… may never exist. But there are some signs of hope.

Last.fm Redesigns!

August 19th, 2005


last.fm

Woah, last.fm has gotten a major overhaul! It’s now possible to tag music; the new tagging interface is pretty good. The player has been made a native application — a wise choice.

But alas, it doesn’t work. Oh no, yet another great service I can’t use because of showstopper bugs. Those nasty things…and there’s only one way to get rid of them…I guess it’s called ‘debugging’. Perpetual beta angst.

UPDATE: It seems to work! This thing is really rocking now.

Towards the heavenly jukebox

June 5th, 2005

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…


LastfmMischa, 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.

Off to London

April 13th, 2005

To meet my girlfriend, Jyri, and hopefully the guys from last.fm. Won’t bring laptop. Back in Stockholm on monday!