These are my notes from the session Musical Myware by Felix Miller

This was a presentation about which is a social music site. The value proposition of is that it uses people's attention data (their musical interests) to make their use of the product better.

The first two questions people tend to ask about the model are

  1. Why would people spy on themselves?
  2. Why would they give up their attention data to a company? gets around of having to answer these questions by not explicitly asking users for their attention data (i.e. their musical interests). Instead, all the music they listen to on the site is recorded and used to build up a music profile for the user. Only songs the user listens to in their entirety are considered valid submissions so as not to count songs the user skips through as something they like. The service currently gets about 8 million submissions a day and got over 1 billion submissions last year. One problem with submissions is that a lot of their songs have bad metadata, he showed examples of several misspellings of Britney Spears which exist in their song catalog today. For this reason, they only use the metadata from 8 million out of their 25 million songs for their recommendation engine.

The recommendation engine encourages users to explore new artists they would like as well as find other users with similar tastes. The site also has social networking features but they were not discussed in detail since that was not the focus of the talk. However the social networking features do show users one of the benefits of building up a music profile (i.e. hence giving up their attention data) since they can find new people with similar tastes. Another feature of the site is that since they have popularity rankings of artists and individual songs, they can recommend songs by obscurity or popularity. Appealing to the music snob in users by recommending obscure songs to them has been a cool feature.

The site does allow people to delete their music profile and extract it as an XML file as well.