iTunes Genius – the New Pandora?
Apple released iTunes 8 on Tuesday, which probably has many bells and whistles included, many of which I’ll never use because I don’t have an iPhone or an Apple TV. What interested me was the feature Genius.
I’m a huge fan of Pandora, and one of the things I like about it is that it exposes me to new music I might not have otherwise heard, which, being the consumer that I am ;), encourages me to buy that music. The premise of Genius seems to be similar, except that the music that plays is chasen from users’ own music libraries.
If users enable Genius, Apple collects info about users’ habits. Get out the tin foil hats. From the privacy statement: When you opt-in to the Genius feature by checking the box below, Apple will, from time to time, automatically collect information that can be used to identify media in your iTunes library on this computer, such as your play history and play lists. This includes media purchased through iTunes and media obtained from other sources. This information will be stored anonymously and not associated with your name or iTunes account. When you use the Genius feature, Apple will use this information and the contents of your iTunes library, as well as other information, to give personalized recommendations to you. Read the entire privacy statement here if you like.
After thinking about it for a minute, I decided to enable the feature. Upon enabling, users are asked to sign into the iTunes Music Store, or create an account if they don’t already have one. (Yeah, you have to provide a credit card number). Once logged in, iTunes connects to the ITMS and analyzes your entire music library (that is enabled in iTunes). I have almost 5,000 songs enabled in my iTunes library, so it took a minute for the ITMS to process them all.
Once they were processed, I turned Genius on and selected David Bowie’s “Breaking Glass” as the song around which I wanted my playlist to be built. below is the playlist that Genius generated.
- Breaking Glass, David Bowie – Low
- Baby’s On Fire, Brian Eno – Here Come The Warm Jets
- Funtime, Iggy Pop – Nude & Rude: The Best Of Iggy Pop
- White Light/White Heat, The Velvet Underground – White Light/White Heat
- Back In N.Y.C., Genesis (Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, and Mike Rutherford) – The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (Disc 1)
- Masoko Tanga, The Police (Sting [sic]) – Outlandos d’Amour
- 1970, The Stooges – Fun House
- Blind Dumb Deaf, Cocteau Twins – BBC Sessions (Disc 1)
- Aloysius, Cocteau Twins – Treasure
- Julie with…, Brian Eno – Before and After Science
- ELT, Wilco (Jeff Tweedy, Jay Bennett, John Stirratt & Ken Coomer) – Summer Teeth
- Everything Hits at Once, Spoon – Girls Can Tell
- Sister, Do You Know My Name, The White Stripes – De Stijl
- If I Didn’t Love You, Squeeze – Singles 45′s And Under
- Art Decade, David Bowie – low
- Here She Comes Now, The Velvet Underground (Lou Reed – John Cale – Sterling Morrison – Maureen Tucker) – White Light/White Heat
- Behind My Camel, The Police (Andy Summers [sic]) -Zenyatta Mondatta
- Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops (Demo), Cocteau Twins – The Spangle Maker
- I Wanna Be Your Dog, Iggy Pop – Nude & Rude: The Best Of Iggy Pop
- The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch, Brian Eno – Here Come The Warm Jets
- T.V. Eye, The Stooges – Fun House
- I Only Said, My Bloody Valentine (Kevin Shields [sic]) – Loveless
- A Perfect Day Elise, PJ Harvey – Is This Desire?
- Nobody’s Fault But My Own, Beck – Mutations
- Sugar Hiccup, Cocteau Twins – Sunburst and Snowblind (EP)
The playlist is a good one, if a little heavy on the Eno. And how did the Cocteau Twins and Squeeze end up in there? It’s interesting that for some of the songs, the band members are listed. Sometimes, the list is incomplete. Yeah, I know that it all depends upon the metadata that was added to the song when it was ripped (assuming that the music was obtained somewhere other than ITMS. If adding all of the metadata was a standard, this would not be an issue, but not all artists care/are that savvy.
I’ll be playing around with Genius a little more. It’s definitely better than the Shuffle feature in iTunes. The down side, of course is that Big Brother Apple collects info from your machine. They say that it is anonymous, but who can you trust?