Text of Do Androids Dream Of Algorithmic Playlists
Do Androids Dream Of Algorithmic Playlists?
Matthew Hawn - VP Product, Last.fm Next Rad.io Conference - London, 15 Sept 2011
Track your music playback history, on any device, on any platform and on any music service
DISCOVER MORE MUSIC & EVENTS
Using your listening data, we make great music recommendations in the form of personalized radio and live gigs we think you will love
SHARE DISCOVERIES WITH FRIENDS
Using social networks, recommend music to your friends
Publish your personal charts and Top 10 lists
Check in to concerts, festivals and music events
Last.fm First Principles
35M Registered listeners140M People via API72M Visits/month36M Unique Visitors/month360M Pageviews/month
600+ devices/software clients collect personal listening histories
800 scrobbles per second57B scrobbles since 2003
Q: What is a Playlist?
What is a Playlist?For Radio DJs and Program Directors
What is a Playlist?For anyone with a iPhone or a computer
What is a Playlist?For my 19 year-old self in 1987
A: An algorithm for a great music experience
Q: What is a Playlist?
What’s a Algorithm?
An algorithm is: A step-by-step set of instructions for calculating something.
A recipe can be an algorithm
In the case of Last.fm’s personalized radio stations, our algorithms are designed to create a string of song recommendations based on a listener’s musical history
Making a great algorithm is hard work
How we feed the algorithm: Information about who is listening & what they love
Last.fm Personalized Radio Playlist
Context + Meaning
In the world of personalized internet radio, Last.fm has the best playlists
…But I think we can make them better using a hybrid of computer
power and human skills.
why I’m here today
WHAT WOULD JOHN PEEL DO?
The best DJs provide context & meaning to what they play
They bring certain elements that computers can’t match
• An compassionate understanding of their audience• Deep love and esoteric knowledge of the genres they play• A lyric sense of the syntax of a great playlist
Recipe for a hybrid playlist
Tools for tagging music(Last.fm tags)
Tools for recognizing the velocity of fast rising bands
Interaction with Listeners via their Personal data
A curated, lyrical skill for combining songs in a particular
order to create meaning and context.
A human love for the music and the stories behind it.
Compassionate interaction with their audience
Tips for surviving a hybrid world
1. Algorithmic playlists and personal listening data from smart phones and computers are here to stay….but they don’t replace individual voices and personality in radio. Put both elements in the mix.
2. Traditional radio’s limited playlists are not the full set of songs that your audience listens to or have access to anymore. Admit this and make suggestions for artists and things off your line, particularly online. Give them directions to explore new artists, off-list.
3. Your audience expects their playlists to be interactive and they are looking for ways to add personal context to on-air playlists. Use the space in radioplayer.co.uk, your forums, social media channels to encourage their contributions…. and they will amplify your playlists with their data and desires.
Have some science with your art. It will make your art better.