Another dorky thing I’m trying out is Audioscrobbler. This is a collaborative filter (ala Alexandria Digital Literature) that is a plugin to one’s MP3 player. It pushes out to a server the song you are listening to, and then can do statistics on the co-occurrence of bands. This lets them recommend groups based on the combination of the musicians that you have listened to. It’s an interesting concept, so I’ll see how well it works. The weak point is the ID3 tag – badly tagged MP3s and wrong CCDB entries will push bad data into their DB.
One interesting thing to look at is the currently playing songs web page. A cursory glance at that will reveal considerably more diversity than anyone gets on commercial radio. While there is going to be a skewing based on the type of person who will be a user at this point in its development, still one notices that people seem to like a lot more different stuff than the big machine would think. Hmmm, this smells like an undertapped market opportunity to me. Rather than hooking listeners in with national
playlists from ever narrowing lists, try playing them as much different stuff as possible by as many different bands as possible. This would be the “throw it all against the wall and see what sticks” philosophy.