Up to 11 is a music recommender service that generates recommendations based upon the analysis of playlists and collections on P2P networks. Using their 'proprietary algorithms' they can infer artist similarity based upon the frequency of co-occurrence of artists. They use this artist similarity to generate recommendations for you. For instance, if you go to up to 11 and enter 'led zeppelin' you'll receive recommendations for: Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Animals, Deep Purple, the Rolling Stones and so on. Up to 11 will point you at the Wikipedia entry for the band and will point you at the usual places to buy music (amazon, iTunes).

The main drawback with Up to 11 right now seems to be the size of their usage database. In the Up to 11 database, Led Zeppelin is found in about 8500 music collections while at last.fm (another music recommender) Led Zeppelin is found in the collections of over half a million people. The more data, the better. It may not matter too much for the big bands like 'Led Zeppelin' but for the smaller bands it makes all the difference in the world. For instance, I asked for recommendations based upon the 70's prog rock band 'the nice' (keith emerson's gig before ELP). The top 5 recommendations from Up to 11 are:

  • Rammstein
  • Dusty Springfield
  • Enya
  • Enigma
  • George Winston.
Any recommendation that includes both Rammstein and Enya is certainly suspect. now compare this to the results from last.fm:
  • Keith Emerson
  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  • Strawbs
  • Curved Air
  • United States Marine Band
Well, that 'united states marine band' recommendation is certainly suspect, but the others make pretty good sense.

Music recommenders like last.fm and Up to 11 seem to be all the rage right now. It will be interesting to see what happens in this space over the next year or so.


500 000 users on last.fm and not a single ONE owns a townes van zandt record? sounds like a waste of time.

And the more obscure Swell Maps zero as well.

Modern jazz improv/band Supersilent gave an amazing 2393 though.

Posted by Halvard Halvorsen on October 03, 2005 at 09:34 AM EDT #

Thanks for the mention and for the feedback. Yeah, coming up with both a comprehensive database and an algorithm that produces relevant recommendations is a challenge for music where some artists are really obscure. When looking for recommendations using a band like The Nice, which is only found in 2 collections, what you are getting is basically the contents of those 2 fans collections in an un-ranked list. Notice the Fan Rank value for Enya (#3) is the same as for ELP (#23). What that means is that ELP is really just as strong a "recommendation" as Enya. The fact that all of the Fan Rank values on the page are zero is a bug that we'll look in to. As far as Halvord's searches - 2 out of the three he mentioned are found in the upto11.net database. http://www.upto11.net/artistprofile.php?ar=49776 - Townes Van Zandt - 45 collections http://www.upto11.net/artistprofile.php?ar=4116 Swell Maps - 4 collections Supersilent - 0 collections

Posted by David Sabel on October 03, 2005 at 11:21 AM EDT #

Halvard: I ran the Swell Maps query on last.fm and found that 4396 different people had listened to them: http://www.last.fm/explore/?artistname=+Swell+Maps And I see two folks have listened to van zandt: http://www.last.fm/music/Van+Zandt I think that last.fm may have some trouble with artist name normalization and that is why it is missing some.

Posted by Paul on October 03, 2005 at 01:04 PM EDT #

Hi from Last.fm
Halvard, seems like Townes Van Zandt has 12,254 fans on Last.fm.. not sure why it didn't show up for you: townes van zandt on Last.fm.
David: so is UpTo11 a Spinal Tap reference? ;) I like the slider interface allowing you to select how popular the results are.

Posted by RJ on October 05, 2005 at 10:08 AM EDT #

I did "townes van zandt" (with the quoetes as I normally would do) that's why ... I just couldn't be right could it? In the top 20 it throws out 3 acts I do have music by (Welch, Parsons, Harris).

Posted by Halvard Halvorsen on October 05, 2005 at 10:59 AM EDT #

RJ, when I tried the van zandt search on last fm I only find two people who have listened to van zandt. Here's the search: http://www.last.fm/explore/?artistname=Van+Zandt

Perhaps there's something wrong with the search...'cause as you say, the data is there, I'm just not finding it.

Posted by Paul on October 05, 2005 at 11:04 AM EDT #


Posted by jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj on January 05, 2006 at 06:08 PM EST #

Hi Paul, here's some more results (from Foafing the Music) of artists related with 'The Nice':
  • Bodast (1980)
  • Elmer Gantry (1960)
  • Autumn (1980)
  • Atomic Rooster GB (1970,1980)
  • Traffic - Midlands, (1960,1970,1990)
  • Van Der Graaf Generator (1960,1970)
  • Etron Fou Leloublan (1970,1980)
  • FM (1970,1980,1990,2000)
  • Savage Rose DK (1960,1970,1980,1990)
  • Wizzard (1970)
  • Grobschnitt (1970,1980)
  • Greenslade (1970,2000)
  • Family - Leicester, GB (1960,1970)
  • Flock (1960,1970)
  • The Strawbs (1960,1970,1980)
  • The Soft Machine (1960,1970,1980,1990)
  • Lee Jackson - Newcastle,
  • Procol Harum - London, GB (1960,1970,1980,1990,2000)
  • Jimi Hendrix - Seattle, US (1960,1970)
  • It's a Beautiful Day (1960,1970)
  • Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Bournemouth, GB (1970,1990)
  • Emerson, Lake and Powell (1980)
  • Renaissance - Surrey, (1960,1970,1980,1990,2000)
  • Roy Wood - Birmingham, GB (1960,1970,1980,1990,2000)
  • The Move (1960,1970)
  • The Pretty Things - Kent, GB (1960,1970,1980,1990,2000)
  • Syd Barrett - Cambridge, GB (1960,1970)
  • Spooky Tooth (1960,1970,1990)
  • Spirit - Los Angeles, US (1970,1980,1990,2000)
    • What do you think? Cheers, Oscar.

      Posted by Oscar on January 12, 2006 at 11:27 AM EST #

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