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Music Recommendation Engines Compared 126

An anonymous reader writes "The music recommendation/music discovery space seems to be heating up this year. Two big recent features on music recommendation engines: ExtremeTech has a round-up and reviews of eight leading services. Of the eight, emerges as the winner: " is by far the best out there, possessing a huge library of music, a great community, and a recommendation feature that will blow you away." Meanwhile, just ran an in-depth feature about the hows and whys of music recommendation software, that tells the story going back to the '90s, and interviews people at, Pandora, MusicIP, and the startup Echo Nest: '"Our hope is to answer every possible question about music that ever existed. If we can pull that off, then I think we're doing very well," says [Brian] Whitman.'"
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Music Recommendation Engines Compared

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  • by yagu ( 721525 ) * <> on Thursday June 01, 2006 @03:02PM (#15447571) Journal

    I've tried the two top recommended music recommend-ers:, and Pandora. Love them both.

    I had to futz with the ergonomics, and find if I haven't used it in a while, I have to re-figure some of the stuff out. I find that annoying. But, it has great features, great recommendations, and features.

    Pandora, I found to be easier to use, simpler and more elegant in design. I especially like the "sharing" of your personal stations, and love the "most popular" station feature. This is a great site, and a great experience.

    For Pandora, though they've talked about fixing it, and I don't know where they are on this, I was disappointed to not be able to create a Classical Music station. That's a pretty big negative for me.

    (Also, if you try Pandora, an odd behavior: if you click the "Minimize" button in the Pandora window (not the browser minimizer), it pops out into its own independent window. That's hardly "minimizing", though I find it convenient.)

    And, while these may be free services, they've ended up costing me a small fortune. I've been exposed to so much cool music I'd not heard, I've ended up buying about 20 CDs I'd never have otherwise bought.

  • by alfs boner ( 963844 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @03:26PM (#15447805) Homepage Journal
    cdbaby [] has a useful genre/category/mood browser.
  • is nice (Score:2, Informative)

    by SubRosa ( 976527 ) <> on Thursday June 01, 2006 @03:29PM (#15447836) Homepage
    Any service that supports not only FreeBSD, but native amd64 binaries of their client deserves some major kudos. When I get tired of my regular playlists, I tune into for some fresh stuff, and it does a mostly decent job.
  • by presentt ( 863462 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @03:48PM (#15448006) Homepage Journal

    I like using because it's player is open-source and available for both Linux and WinXP. For me, that's critical, because I dualboot my PC between those two OSs, and have my music on a separate partition that's accessible by both.

    I'm not sure if that's the case with the other services, but I've been happy with

  • by leonmergen ( 807379 ) <lmergen&gmail,com> on Thursday June 01, 2006 @03:50PM (#15448032) Homepage

    You obviously aren't familliar with the sites recommended, Pandora and ... the trick with these services is that you decide what you listen to (for example, in's case, you can listen to similar artists of, for example, Britney Spears - they will probably serve you a nice mixture of Christina, Destiny's Child, Shakira, etc... they do this based on data mining, which only works if you have a subscriber base as large as one point which Pandora seems to lack a bit (chicken or the egg problem)

    And well, as far as I'm concerned,'s radio service is pretty high quality.. they offer you an option to subscribe to, among other things, get a guarantee for being able to listen to a radio station (if a server is full, a non-subscriber gets kicked off to make place for you)...

    You should try it out... everyone who enjoys music recommendations and discovering new music will like these services...

  • Re:iTunes playlists (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 01, 2006 @03:52PM (#15448050)
    It would be awesome if I could export a playlist from iTunes and upload it to a site and have it make recommendations based on that, rather than having to manually type in artists & songs. Anyone know of any services that accept that kind of input? Well, kind of. If you use the Audioscrobbler plugin, it send the details of the tracks you play in iTunes to the servers to use when determining your personal station and when giving recommendations.
  • Hello from (Score:5, Informative)

    by captainclever ( 568610 ) <> on Thursday June 01, 2006 @03:52PM (#15448054) Homepage
    So, seeing as I work at (I founded audioscrobbler), I feel obliged to pimp my journal [], which has some interesting stats (imo) about which media players are most popular, and some graphs of artist popularity. I intend to do a "google trends for music" interface after the next site update (see below).

    The KDE player Amarok [] is getting increasingly popular, which is nice to see. I use it myself; the built in support means no plugin is required. The next version of amarok adds lots more integration too.

    Coming up - we'll be running a beta test of a fairly major update to towards the end of june, and going live with the new version 1st July.

    And a random stat: we currently recieve on average 104 submissions per second from audioscrobbler plugins.
  • Re: Progarchives (Score:3, Informative)

    by stuffduff ( 681819 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @04:05PM (#15448182) Journal
    Yeah [] is good! So are [] and []. And if you have your ten league boots on (and lots and lots of energy) try []. Rest up before the trip & plan a long recovery after. With two bands Friday at the Progressive Legends Showcase, and five (yes five) bands/artists both Saturday and Sunday it can really take a toll.
  • by joshsteadmon ( 632220 ) <josh@ s t e a d m o> on Thursday June 01, 2006 @04:42PM (#15448485)
    RIAA Radar [] will list non-RIAA albums that are similar to any given album you search for. I've used it a few times and it's always given me good results.
  • by levell ( 538346 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @04:47PM (#15448530) Homepage
    If you're a Linux user but you prefer Gnome to KDE, Rhythmbox [] also has AudioScrobbler integration and the ability to play streams is currently being worked on []
  • iRATE (Score:3, Informative)

    by McDutchie ( 151611 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @05:53PM (#15449065) Homepage
    Anyone else using iRATE []? For some reason it isn't listed in the article, but I've been using it for years and it's the best way I've found to (legally) get free tracks from the web and get new ones you like based on how you've rated previous ones.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire