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"Speed dating" for music
February 9, 2010 10:51 PM   Subscribe

Is there a music discovery service that cycles through songs quickly?

I am looking for a music discovery service like Pandora and Last.fm that satisfies the following criteria:

(1) By default, only plays short snippets of songs (e.g. 30 seconds).
(2) Suggests any given song only once.

Reason (1) because I dislike most songs, and I can usually tell within seconds whether I'll like a song. With Pandora & Last.fm, I have to keep manually skipping to the next song. Also, Pandora limits the # of songs I can skip in a channel. Reason (2) because if I like it I'll download/buy it. Pandora & Last.fm, on the other hand, play "liked" songs frequently.

Other services I have already checked out:
- Lala.com
- Slacker
- Grooveshark

Is there a service that will let me sit back and listen to many short snippets of songs, and allow me to note songs that I like? Learning from my likes & dislikes would be a plus. In effect this would be "speed dating" for music.

Additional info: I mainly like underground hip-hop, and some rock.
posted by lunchbox to Media & Arts (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't know of anything that does this exactly, but I do have a suggestion for how to use Pandora to get a experience closer to what you want.

Pandora limits skipping songs (6 times per hour), but you can always switch between multiple different stations until you find a song that you want. If you listen to a song on another station, by the time you come back to the station playing a song you didn't like, it will have changed to a new song. If you have 10-15 stations set up hopefully one of them will be playing a song you like.

I'd suggest not using the "like" feature, since as you say it will make it more likely to repeat the song. Instead just create a new station based on the song you liked. This should keep you with a constant flow of new stations which will help make sure you get a lot of variety. (Instead you can use the bookmark feature to keep track of the songs you want to download)

It may be that what you want exists, but I think it is a bit unlikely. Here is why: what you want costs them more. As far as I can tell they pay a license fee for each song they play, with no savings for playing less of the song, so 10 30 second clips will cost them a lot more than 1 3 minute song.

The one place I'd suggest looking is at online music stores, since most of them offer you the chance to listen to 30 second "previews" of songs to encourage you to buy the song. I know amazon, emusic, and itunes all offer previews like this. The question is whether any of them have a system for automating the playing of the clips based on some set of criteria. I don't know of any system like this, but it might exist.
posted by vegetableagony at 8:34 AM on February 10, 2010


If you want to get around Pandora's song-skipping limit, you should install Saver2. The Pandora client it comes with allows unlimited skipping (although if you do it too quickly -- say, 20 songs in less than a minute -- you risk a temporary ban from the service). It also supports customizable downloading of songs if you choose, and works with other services like Grooveshark and Slacker Radio. The only downside is that installation is a little involved -- just MeMail me if you have any issues.

As for short snippets, have you considered the Genius feature in iTunes? It's usually used to generate playlists from your existing library, but can also make recommendations from the iTunes store, and all iTunes tracks can be previewed in 30 second chunks before purchase. I don't use Genius myself, so I don't know how relevant its recommendations are, but it's the best option I know of.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:02 PM on February 10, 2010


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