"Oh, I own that song?"
October 16, 2006 7:07 AM   Subscribe

Peter Gabriel has introduced a new iTunes plugin for Windows XP called The Filter. Using the All Music Guide in a fashion similar to Pandora, the software builds playlists from your library for you after you select a few tracks. Their marketing copy tells you that you should "Prepare to be reengaged and reinvigorated by your iTunes library."

OS X, WinAMP, and WMP versions are slated for the near future.
posted by beaucoupkevin (55 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh yeah, it's free. At least I can't find a cost...
posted by beaucoupkevin at 7:09 AM on October 16, 2006


How often have you had your iPod on shuffle and ended up on the treadmill listening to Joy Division instead of Basement Jaxx?

Never, ever.
posted by three blind mice at 7:18 AM on October 16, 2006


Joy Division is great workout music.

"Dance dance dance dance dance to the radio!"
posted by mds35 at 7:23 AM on October 16, 2006 [2 favorites]


We have to wait for an OSX version? Oh the irony...
posted by dsquid at 7:27 AM on October 16, 2006


Rock Stars: Is there anything they can't do?

But seriously, what's the connection here? At first glance, it seems like The Filter is a plugin made by All Music Guide, not Peter Gabriel. AFAICS, The plugin isn't mentioned on PG's site and PG isn't mentioned on the plugin site.
posted by boaz at 7:32 AM on October 16, 2006


Peter Gabriel is already messing with my ipod. I have over 400 songs, so how come in a 30 minute period last night the shuffle pulled up 3 songs from his Passion album?
posted by Biblio at 7:33 AM on October 16, 2006


Maybe it's not THAT Peter Gabriel?

Seriously though, I hate the iPod shuffle mode and I also hate making my own playlists from the six billion songs I have so I'm willing to give this a shot.
posted by spicynuts at 7:33 AM on October 16, 2006


Original article where Gabriel's name was invoked.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 7:34 AM on October 16, 2006


Oops, here's the copy:

Peter Gabriel is ushering in the second wave of the digital revolution by backing a new piece of software that the creators claim will change the way we listen to archived music.

Gabriel won the Pioneer Award at the recent Digital Music Awards, and has been at the forefront of musical innovation from his championing of world music and embracing of video technology right up to his current digitial innovations.

“The Filter” is a free piece of downloadable software, which say the makers, will organize your ipod record collection into intuitive playlists at the click of a mouse.

The programme scans your iTunes library using Artificial Intelligence – as it gets better at judging your tastes, it is said it will even playlist according to your mood.

On the new generation of AI software, Peter Gabriel, says, "The first wave of the digital revolution was about the freedom of choice, trying to make everything accessible to anyone, anyplace, anytime. I think the second wave will be about freedom from choice. It will be able to filter and focus so that you get more of what you want.”

posted by beaucoupkevin at 7:35 AM on October 16, 2006


Sweet, a FPP that counts as work time for me!

I can't find the connection to Peter Gabriel. He's not listed on the Filter site and the filter isn't listed on his site.
posted by mkb at 7:36 AM on October 16, 2006


Blarg, never mind then!
posted by mkb at 7:37 AM on October 16, 2006


Peter Gabriel writing code now, is he? Hmmmm?
Accessing Windows API's? Squeezing out a few global variables?
Maybe, ah, you know, putting together a little database? Hmmm? A little indexing to primary and secondary keys?
Perhaps a little UI action there, Peter? Radio buttons, eh? Selection boxes? Some greyed out, some active? Huh? State machine?
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:43 AM on October 16, 2006 [2 favorites]


He's almost certainly just a financial backer/evangelist. The software itself is developed by Exabre.
posted by mkb at 7:46 AM on October 16, 2006


You'll need to talk to Youssour N'Dour. He did the UI. Peter did the back-end.
posted by dw at 7:47 AM on October 16, 2006 [1 favorite]


Nice that PG has some work. Must be boring putting out a new album every six to ten years. Hey Peter, never mind the iPod just get back in the studio.

OTOH if this will prevent me from sliding into and out of music genres in shuffle that would be cool.
posted by Gungho at 7:48 AM on October 16, 2006


Peter Gabriel is a co-founder of OD2, a UK rival to iTunes which allows MSN and others to stick their branding on OD2's product to create the MSN Music Store etc.
posted by matthewr at 7:50 AM on October 16, 2006


The details are a little sketchy, but this sounds like what I've been looking for in an Mp3 player-- something that figures out what music is appropriate for a situation based on my history. I even wrote my own using Winamp and MySQL, but something that was integrated into the player would be even better.

Anyone tried this yet? Does it actually work?
posted by justkevin at 7:52 AM on October 16, 2006


Hello, I'm a Mac so I can't check this out. But it reminded me of Todd Rundgren who made a mix CD for Mac or PC back around 1993: No World Order. You'd choose tempo, mood, maybe even color and hit play. The software would pull x bars of y tunes and string them together. Pull the bridge from one song and flow into the chorus of another without skipping a beat. No two sessions were alike. Not all of it was ambient either. Loaned it to a friend. Never saw it again.
posted by hal9k at 8:03 AM on October 16, 2006


Gungho: It's not like he was totally idle between 92 and 2002. He released two full soundtracks (Long Walk Home and Ovo), and probably another album's worth of material for other soundtracks (some excellent, some not worth mentioning)
posted by mkb at 8:04 AM on October 16, 2006


I downloaded and tried it last week. There are some privacy concerns - it scans your collection, reports back to and gets info from the Mothership, will use your data for various purposes, etc. That being said, when selecting 3 very different song types to base a playlist upon - from A Perfect Circle, Sufjan Stevens and Mel Torme - it generated a quite listenable mix using various songs from my collection.
posted by FreezBoy at 8:23 AM on October 16, 2006


Hey, not too shabby. It bridges Combustible Edison, Plaid, Fortyone, and Dean Elliot quite nicely. Thanks!
posted by Fezboy! at 8:26 AM on October 16, 2006


I have over 400 songs, so how come in a 30 minute period last night the shuffle pulled up 3 songs from his Passion album?

Steven Levy on the iPod shuffle feature:
From the results of this admittedly nonscientific survey, it appeared that nearly everybody's iPod seemed to have a favourite artist, or two, or three. Or, they believed, when their iPod performed a shuffle, it would decide which artist it was in the mood for and then flood the listening session with that performer's works. After I wrote about the Steely Dan problem in Newsweek, my inbox was flooded with emails - iPod owners were taking serious note of what happens in shuffle, and virtually all of them seemed to think that something funny was happening. A lot of them felt compelled to report their theories to me.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:31 AM on October 16, 2006


Oh no, not Steely Dan again: for those of you who unimpressed with the shuffle function of your iPods, here's an interesting article from The Guardian.
posted by micayetoca at 8:34 AM on October 16, 2006


Just ran it through my relatively large 20,000 MP3 collection. (It makes me kind of sick when I realize they're all legal, but that's another matter).

It's certainly not as perfect as a hand-rolled playlist, but it's easily the best automated system I've used. It's not so much a 'better shuffle' as it is a way of grabbing lists of songs that share elements. You can tell it to build you a playlist based on similarities to a given song, a given artist, or a given genre.

I like it. A lot.
posted by verb at 8:35 AM on October 16, 2006


Damn, Armitage. Didn't see you coming.
posted by micayetoca at 8:36 AM on October 16, 2006


Trying it now - so far, pretty decent. Hopefully it will get a mite better as it learns.
posted by bashos_frog at 8:41 AM on October 16, 2006


Damn, Armitage. Didn't see you coming.

It can't be random, I tell you!
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:42 AM on October 16, 2006


I want to find a way to choose the music I want to listen to from what I own. Oh, wait, I have that. Never mind.
posted by QuietDesperation at 9:01 AM on October 16, 2006


FreezBoy: It probably reports to the mothership because the AMG dataset is mindbendingly huge, and correlating all the releases is incredibly time-consuming to do in real-time.
posted by mkb at 9:05 AM on October 16, 2006


I'm writing a program that makes a playlist by filtering the Filter playlists and every third song will be a text to voice news article or obituary. If you listen between 5-12GMT there will be commercials and song repeats. I am going to call it MetaFilter.
posted by srboisvert at 9:41 AM on October 16, 2006


Hello, I'm a Mac -- hal9k

Can't fool me. You're a supercomputer.

Oh, I give them points for wit on the download page.

Peter Gabriel on CNN 2 years ago:
The future should be [that] you can get anything, anytime, from wherever you are, anywhere, and whoever you are, whatever country, whatever language you speak. And then the question that is fundamental to me that follows that as day follows night, is how do I actually filter the stuff, how do I really get to the stuff that means something to me? And that you can only do with an intelligent filter systems, and we were beginning to look at that with OD2 and I'm sure we'll continue. It's something that interests me a lot because you have limited time, and you don't want, like with e-mail, you don't want all of the junk, you just want the bits that have some meaning for you.
posted by dhartung at 9:47 AM on October 16, 2006


This is sweet. I hate making playlists.
posted by dreamsign at 9:51 AM on October 16, 2006


Two thumbs up. Very cool, and thanks. Best of the web.
posted by joecacti at 9:52 AM on October 16, 2006


I'm using it now, but it seems to be having an incredibly difficult time recognizing that what I want is uptempo. If I want specific artists or genres, those are playlists I can easily make for myself. I want to be able to create playlists of happy or melancholy or loud or whatever, and it doesn't seem in tune with that.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:52 AM on October 16, 2006


Doesn't beatunes do this very thing? I may be mistaken though, but it does sound similar. Plus beatunes is already compatible with OS X.
posted by NoMich at 10:07 AM on October 16, 2006


The Peter Gabriel connection is, among other things, the city of Bath - home of Gabriel, Exabre and site of Solsbury Hill.

The Filter is great. Previously known as iCueMix, it has been in development and slowly released to the world over the last eighteen months.

Exabre themselves are good guys. They made a fortune with Baysean recommendation engines for shopping websites. The Filter brings that know-how to music, it's not entirely clear that it will ever pay. To see a debug trace of the Filter at work is just amazing.

Be patient with it. It does take some time to build a working index and to understand what you like. There are still some bugs. If you have a big, rambling iTunes library it's wonderful.
posted by grahamwell at 11:09 AM on October 16, 2006


I can't believe nobody has made this comment yet:

FilterFilter.
posted by wendell at 12:29 PM on October 16, 2006


The future should be [that] you can get anything, anytime, from wherever you are, anywhere, and whoever you are, whatever country, whatever language you speak.

Yes, and any operating system or software platform please. I'm not sure what Exabre's business model is, but if they're giving away their software for free, they might consider releasing it open source.
posted by Loudmax at 1:27 PM on October 16, 2006


Reminds me of that wonderful bygone website, firefly.com
posted by Tenuki at 1:53 PM on October 16, 2006


fyi - If you look in iTunes preferences under playback, you will see something called smart shuffle. Depending on how this is set is how often you will hear songs from the same artist.
posted by vronsky at 2:04 PM on October 16, 2006


Tried it and it made some weird playlists. I wanted some suggestions regarding a Soundtrack (Thin Red Line by Hans Zimmer) - that automatic playlist included Pop Muzik from M and Open your Eyes by Guano Apes.

That's what I call a strange mixture.
posted by homodigitalis at 3:00 PM on October 16, 2006


Thanks NoMich. I've been looking for a free auto BPM app.

Apps like the Filter will end up in the hands of the distribution cartel. That's what their business model should be. Flooding the market with cheap music and then selling a service for recommending selections.

At least in my rarebit dreams.
posted by infowar at 3:27 PM on October 16, 2006


Yes, and any operating system or software platform please. I'm not sure what Exabre's business model is, but if they're giving away their software for free, they might consider Toreleasing it open source.

Amarok, for Linux (and presumably other Unixy OSes) does something similar to this plugin, and it's open-source. The UI for recommendationy goodness is a little clunky, though.
posted by arto at 4:27 PM on October 16, 2006


Anyone else getting an error about the Filter server cannot be found? Cuz I am. Phooey.
posted by StrangeTikiGod at 4:49 PM on October 16, 2006


StrangeTikiGod - yes I'm getting that too. It seems to take that to mean I'm using a proxy server and asks for the proxy address, but I'm not.

Thanks for asking that, I'm glad to know it's not just me!
posted by dnash at 5:03 PM on October 16, 2006


dnash...I'm re-downloading the installation file for iTunes...the only thing I spotted on the support page was that there were occasionally issues with iTunes 7, and reinstalling it may remove them.

Unfortunately, Apple's download server seems to be taking for-freaking-ever.
posted by StrangeTikiGod at 5:12 PM on October 16, 2006


I love this feature in Amarok... so much so that it's now the house's primary music-player, and I can't think where I'd use this itunes version.

But I'll probably grab it anyway. Maybe I can get them to fight....
posted by pompomtom at 6:00 PM on October 16, 2006


Anything that makes itunes more functional on a pc is welcomed. I swear Apple makes itunes clunk on the pc on purpose. This_is_good.
posted by HyperBlue at 7:02 PM on October 16, 2006


It can't be random, I tell you!

Yeah, I would settle for a truly random music grabber, but apparently that's difficult. I haven't tried iTunes/iPods much, but none of the other players I have tried do it very well either.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:31 PM on October 16, 2006


dnash and StrangetikiGod,

Are you still getting that Filter not found error? I'm assuming it's a problem on their end and I should just wait it out...

ps. im using itunes 6, itunes 7 sucked hard when i installed it.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:16 PM on October 16, 2006


"Prepare to be reengaged and reinvigorated by your iTunes library."

I'm not entirely sure why this makes me want to stab someone in the eye, but it does. I am wanting to stab!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:32 AM on October 17, 2006


you're misreading it stavros. It's reengaged not reenraged.
posted by srboisvert at 2:17 AM on October 17, 2006


I like the playlists this creates, but I hate the RAM it sucks into its bottomless maw. My system is slow enough already.

I'm also thinking of backing out to iTunes 6. Ever since I upgraded, every song change is accompanied by five seconds of judder. Is it too much to ask it to pre-fetch? iTunes knows what's coming next.
posted by dhartung at 10:35 AM on October 17, 2006


Except 7 finally (!) allows gapless playback. Makes me happier when listening to mix sets - no more inane gaps between songs. For that I can put up with iTunes 7.

It also changed one of the more annoying menu items - I believe it now says "delete" instead of "clear" on Windows.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:13 PM on October 17, 2006


Using the latest version of itunes7, which I reinstalled, and the latest The Filter (I hate products with articles in the name). Sadly, after reinstalling everything involved, The Filter still doesn't work. Keep getting the 'The Filter Service Can't Be Found' error. Seems like a great idea, hopefully it'll work one day.
posted by aristan at 9:42 PM on October 19, 2006


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