I'm a regular reader of The Register so I was quite pleased to see this extensive coverage of the Sun Labs Open House. Correspondent Andrew Orlowski took a tour of labs and offers highlights in the article Inside Sun Labs. Mr Orlowski offers this observation about the Search inside the Music project:

    The psychological insight necessary to produce a divine playlist doesn't come from an algorithm, or even an encyclopedic knowledge of music, but from experience and understanding. I must say that I agree with Mr. Orlowski wholeheartedly. A divine playlist (or even a not-that-bad playlist) can have the subtlety and nuance of a poem. Musical themes, lyrical themes, mood, instrumentation, rhythm and tempo can interact as one song leads into another. A good playlist is its own art form. A visit to The Art of the Mix demonstrates that the art form is alive and well.

    But just because a computer can't generate a divine playlist doesn't mean that it can't greatly improve upon "iTunes' lamentable Party Shuffle". The problem I'm (and many others in the MIR community are) trying to solve is how to deal with a million song iPod. Shuffle play won't scale, and there aren't any DJs waiting to program my tastes into the proper playlist poetry. I'd much rather have a million song iPod that could generate a playlist that at least contains songs that I like, even if they aren't in the divine order.


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