Tuesday July 15, 2003
A new online radio station is providing listeners the chance to automatically expand their playlist according to their individual tastes. UK based Last.fm uses a profiling system to build a "Record Collection" of songs you have listened to and serves up the next track based on comparisons between the songs you like and those that like-minded music lovers are listening to.
Listeners can create a manual profile by adding songs and artists to their Online Record Collection from the online pool of music, or automatically create one as they listen to Profile Radio. The latter option means that songs will be played at random and can be rejected if not to your taste - the system remembers what you liked and what you didn't and tailors the playlist by comparing it to other listeners' profiles and identifying strong correlations in taste.
Last.fm acts like a radio in that all you have to do is turn it on and the simple, intuitive interface is designed to provide hassle free access to the right kind of online music - and given that there's already too much digital music (and other forms of information) out there for most of us to deal with, this type of service and the filtering software that facilitates it will becoming increasingly critical to accessing mass media in the future.