We’ve been head down here at the Echo Nest putting the finishing touches on what I think is a game changer for music discovery. For years, music recommendation companies have been trying to get collaborative filtering technologies to work. These CF systems work pretty well, but sooner or later, you’ll get a bad recommendation. There are just too many ways for a CF recommender to fail. Here at the ‘nest we’ve decided to take a completely different approach. Instead of recommending music based on the wisdom of the crowds or based upon what your friends are listening to, we are going to recommend music just based on whether or not the music is good. This is such an obvious idea - recommend music that is good, and don’t recommend music that is bad – that it is a puzzle as to why this approach hasn’t been taken before. Of course deciding which music is good and which music is bad can be problematic. But the scientists here at The Echo Nest have spent years building machine learning technologies so that we can essentially reproduce the thought process of a Pitchfork music critic. Think of this technology as Pitchfork-in-a-box.
Our implementation is quite simple. We’ve added a single API method ‘get_goodness’ to our set of developer offerings. You give this method an Echo Nest artist ID (that you can obtain via an artist search call) and get_goodness returns a number between zero and one that indicates how good or bad the artist is. Here’s an example call for radiohead:
http://developer.echonest.com/api/get_goodness?api_key=EHY4JJEGIOFA1RCJP&id=music://id.echonest.com/~/AR/ARH6W4X1187B99274F&version=3 The results are: <response version="3"> <status> <code>0</code> <message>Success</message> </status> <query> <parameter name="api_key">EHY4JJEGIOFA1RCJP</parameter> <parameter name="id">music://id.echonest.com/~/AR/ARH6W4X1187B99274F</parameter> </query> <artist> <name>Radiohead</name> <id>music://id.echonest.com/~/AR/ARH6W4X1187B99274F</id> <goodness>0.47</goodness> <instant_critic>More enjoyable than Kanye bitching.</instant_critic> </artist> </response>
We also include in the response, a text string that indicates how you should feel about this artist. This is just the tip of the iceberg for our forthcoming automatic music review technology that will generate blog entries, amazon reviews, wikipedia descriptions and press releases automatically, just based upon the audio.
We’ve made a web demo of this technology that will allow you try out the goodness API. Check it out at: demo.echonest.com.
We’ve had lots of late nights in the last few weeks, but now that this baby is launched, time to celebrate (briefly) and then on to the next killer music tech!