I just posted my music hack day hack. It is called Paul’s Music Wreckommender. Use this Wreckommender to find anti-recommendations. Give the wreckommender an artist that you like and it will give you a playlist of tracks from artists that are very different from the seed artist. Some obvious use cases:
- Your 14 year old daughter’s slumber party is getting too loud. Send the girls home by putting on the Hannah Montana Wreckommender – which yields a playlist with tracks by Glenn Gould, Dream Theater and Al Hirt.
- It’s time to break up with your girl friend. Give her the ‘You are the wind beneath my wings‘ wrecklist and your intentions will be clear.
- If you like ‘everything but country’ then Garth Williams will guide the way: Garth Williams Wreckommendations
You can try it out at Wreckommender.com.
How it works:
This was a pretty easy hack. I already had a playlister engine with some neat properties. It maintains a complete artist graph using Echo Nest artist similarities, so I can make make routes through the artist space for making smooth artist/song transitions. Adapting this playlister engine to create wreckommendations was really easy. To create the recommendations, I find the seed node in the graph and then from this node I find the set of artists that have the longest ‘shortest path’ to the seed artist. These are the artists that are furthest away from the seed artists. I then select songs from this set to make my ‘wrecklist’. However, this list isn’t the best list. There are a small set of artists that are far away from everything. These artists become frequent wrecommendations for many many artists, which is bad. To avoid this problem I adapted the algorithm to find far away artist clusters and then draw artists from that cluster. This gives yields a playlist with much more variety.
This hack is primarily for fun, but I think there’s something in the wreckommendations that is worth persuing. When asked to describe their taste in music, many people will use a negative – such as “Anything but country and rap”. If this is really the case, then using the wreckommender to literally find ‘anything but country and rap’ – whether it is J-Pop or crabcore might actually be useful.
A couple of sources of inspiration for this hack. First, the name. A word like ‘wreckommendation’ clearly deserves an application. Second, a coffee pot conversation with Reid, and finally, the LibraryThing Unsuggester, which does a similar thing for books (but in a very different way).
I hope you like the wreckommender, let me know if you find any interesting wreckommendations.