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Streaming radio tailored to your taste


July 14, 2003

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.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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