Sunday, March 19, 2006

Dealing with Superabundance

Well, we made it back from SXSW 2006, and the topic on the top of my mind is superabundance. Anyone who was at SXSW probably knows what I'm talking about - music, music, and more music. That's great, but how can you decide what to see and hear when there's so many options? Ok, ok, yes, this is a shocking subject for me to be covering. Obviously that's what MusicIP is all about. This post is more specifically about what worked and what didn't work at SXSW. - We added a nifty feature to the SXSW website, so that artists who had made sample tracks available also got a "Other songs and SXSW artists you may enjoy" link to similar sample tracks available. This was a cool little feature, but depended on the specific tracks being made available, and knowing where to enter the system. (You had to start your search from an artist that was listed on the SXSW site, and that had a track available there). - Right before the show, we updated the "Discovery" window inside MusicIP Mixer to show recommendations based on playlists in your collection. This was easier, because you could start from music you own and know, and access related bands you didn't. Still, you had to go to the extra step of making a mix, and you didn't know who was playing when or where without clicking through to the SXSW website. After a long day working the convention center, if you've got four people walking down 6th Street trying to decide which direction to head, it needs to be even easier. (For the record, we took the easy road of assigning a "Team Leader".) Some things I'd like to see next year (or maybe at NXNE): - Some way, preferably from a phone, to get personalized recommendations and directions about what's playing right now. SXSW did have a service to find bands from text messages ("Where are the Brakes playing"), but not the ability to say something like "Music like Morcheeba, within 90 minutes and 6 blocks". - Some way to created a limited, targeted show guide. For instance, compare my collection and listening habits to the bands out there, remove stuff that doesn't match, and just show me what's left. - And some way to do that with multiple users - sync up our iPods, and find the best recommendations where our musical tastes overlap. That's just for starters. Hopefully we'll be at SXSW next year, with even more cool stuff!

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