Music, and iPod Shuffle

I’ve realised I like the endings of songs; whether I like a song or not, entirely depends on how it ends.

Apple’s iPod shuffle algorithm is incredible. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time listening to it, and I’m sure it’s not random; I think it’s picking next tracks based partly on the similarity of metadata between the current and candidate tracks, which is quite neat as an automated mixing technique.

So is it random? Google says:

  • yes
  • no; a commenter on that article notes the same thing I’m talking about
  • yes
  • no; can’t say I’ve noticed the Beatles getting a push on mine
  • yes
  • and finally, no answer here, but a pretty cool stats experiment
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  1. Posted January 14, 2006 at 04:54 | Permalink

    Admittedly I haven’t tried this recently, but back when I tested my 2G 20Gb iPod’s shuffle (when I was convinced it was favouring music by bis) I found that it played no more of a given artist than pseudo-randomness would suggest.

    Humans are just brutally good at picking out patterns where there are none. Earlier, my iPod played a live Nirvana track followed by a Hole track. Sure, a decent music metadata database could compute a transition there, but my dumb ol’ iPod just stumbled across a mix by coincidence.

  2. Posted January 14, 2006 at 20:24 | Permalink

    What I’d be interested in is the ability to make a Smart Playlist auto-shuffle itself periodically, I haven’t been able to so far on my recently retired 3G or new 6G iPod. :|

    I maintain a few playlists, such as energising, pick-me-up music, etc, so I can listen to different music, depending on my mood. I also have a smart playlist which blends a few playlists together for when I’m coding.

    I guess I could try toggling shuffle playback for a while, but I just want it enabled on few of my playlists…

  3. Posted January 15, 2006 at 16:24 | Permalink

    And if only I could scrape together the cash for some kind of iPod. Well in the meantime if you want a savage playlist on your pc check out the Predixis MusicMagic plugin in Winamp 5, it profiles all the music you have in your media library and will build a playlist of similar music. It works extremely well.