Posts Tagged wreckommender

Paul’s Music Wreckommender

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

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.

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