Academics Plan the Celectial Jukebox

July 29, 2008

Was just looking at Paul Lamere’s list of accepted papers for the ISMIR conference and they are amazing. The academics are once again showing the executives how innovative thinking can move the industry towards solving users practical problems and create new business opportunities along the way.

At least the academics have really begun to build the tools that will make the celestial jukebox and unlimited music locker a commercially viable and practical product. Which is kinda funny when you think about it because thats actually the job of the Harvard MBA’s in the executives suites collecting big checks. If you work in or around media, these are the papers you should probably read and use to guide your thinking about the industry. Marketing, especially for media, will be largely algorithmic and these are some of the early experiments in creating the algorithms that will result in discovery and hopefully sales.

The papers that look the most promising:
– A Comparison Of Signal-Based Music Recognitionmmendation to Genre Labels, Collaborative Filtering, Musicological Analysis, Human Recommendation, and Random Baseline Terence Magno and Carl Sable

Armonique: Experiments In Content-Based Similarity Retrieval Using Power-Law Melodic and Timbre Metrics Bill Manaris, Dwight Krehbiel, Patrick Roos and Thomas Zalonis

Moodswings: A Collaborative Game For Music Mood Label Collection Youngmoo Kim, Erik Schmidt and Lloyd Emelle

Oh Oh Oh Whoah! Towards Automatic Topic Detection In Song Lyrics Florian Kleedorfer, Peter Knees and Tim Pohle

-Social Playlists and Bottleneck Measurements : Exploiting Musician Social Graphs Using Content-Based Dissimilarity and Pairwise Maximum

I wasnt able to find a couple of them but if f anyone has any of these papers I would love to see them or if your blogging from the conference could you please post or email me a link.


Mining the social web with WeFeelFine and Twistori

May 14, 2008

the mysocialmap app

Back in 2006 I was working on a venture I called SocialNet (MySocialMap), based largely on research by dinah boyd and the Vister application she and Jeffery Heer put together. The idea was to build a icon based visual map of relationships across multiple social networks and layer this with a Taste Fabric styled algorithm. Users would be able to visualize their relationships across social networks (something still not done well) as well as discover their networks propensity to like anything from brands to movies. After a couple of successful beta applications the initiative got bogged down in a bunch of issues from vendor management to time constraints (not to mention SocialStream). I had to shelve it late last year after a ton of work and a couple grand in expenses with only a barebones prototype to show for it.

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Signs of Bubble 2.0: Tons of “me too” Black sites launching

April 22, 2008

There has been a ton of talk about Bubble 2.0, it started with Fred Wilson back in March of ’05, was picked up by Vulture Central in Oct of the same year and has since since spawned everything from an official blog to a Wikipedia entry. However, the only sure sign that Bubble 2.0 is in full effect is the recent launch of 5 major web sites focused on the Black audience. The last time this many copy-cat Black sites, with major backers, launched was at the tail end of the dotcom boom in late ’99 and 2000.

Back then a series of lackluster online efforts launched and failed in rapid succession. These sites were generally the brainchild of a disgruntled black executive in a traditional media firm who had snagged a white funding source. He (its always a he) would then hire a bunch of magazine writers, movie/music promotions people, traditional ad-sales folks and some witless MBA’s for legitimacy. What none of these sites had was a real problem to solve, a raison d’etre that was unique to their target audience, or a technological basis to solve that problem.

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Social Lending: Poor Africans pay-up, fat Americans… not so much.

April 18, 2008

Back in October of 2006 I joined Prosper as a lender, thinking it would be a great way to get a good return while doing some social good. In January of 2007 I started lending money on Kiva where the sole focus is on the social good created by these loans. At the time I wondered if I would ever see any money come back from the Kiva.org loans and what kind of interest rate I’d eek out on Prosper.com. Half way through the social lending horse race, the results are trickling in and they are rather surprising.

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Zopa’s coming, anyone want to borrow a few bucks?

November 30, 2007

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Its been months since I last mentioned Zopa, the UK strain of the P2P lending bug which will hopefully wipe-out retail banking and credit cards. So it came as a bit of a shock when I got an email from them yesterday morning loudly proclaiming their imminent launch.

Well, we told you we were coming! At this very minute, we are testing the service and expect to bring it to everybody within a few days.

Thats what they said months ago! Still, as a former Prosper lender (I stopped actively lending back in June), I’m pretty excited to try out Zopa and jump back into the P2P lending space. Zopa promises shorter loan terms, potentially higher returns and lender selected rates (on Prosper rate are set by bid). One line from their email really jumped out at me:

No risk for investors.
Your funds will be federally insured. No more worrying about whether your borrowers will pay your loan back.

No risk and investors should never be used in the same sentence, as it is very rarely true. I’m clearly not the only skeptic out here (and here and here). Why would the federal government insure my private loan to another individual? Makes no sense to me but when it launches, I will be lending… I can spot you $50 for 3 months at 6%, with 200 other strangers. You can use the $10k to fund that new web 2.0 start-up you’ve been dreaming about. You know, that Myspace meets YouTube idea, for English speaking Mexican boys between the ages of 9 and 17, living in the suburbs of Spokane. Its a winner for sure!


ZapMeals: Closing the Gap Betwen Mouse and Tummy

June 22, 2007

zapmeals.jpgA great new Web 2.0 launch that plans on revolutionizing the restaurant and take-out industries. The start-up has an amazingly ambitious plan to help restaurants and home cooks monetize they excess capacity and inventory while delivering quality, low-cost food options. This is an amazing long-tail opportunity that I never even saw coming. Basically the company connects local buyers and sellers of meals, while redefining who the sellers can be (anyone who likes to cook) and offering their services to a global buying audience. This is one company I’m going to watch intently! Check out their presentation and you’ll see why I cant wait for it to launch!


A better review of WebOS’s

June 19, 2007

Stan Schroeder over at Frantic Industries did a more though and in-depth review of the WebOS options then the blurp i posted a few days ago If your interested in how folks are expanding the functionality and depth of web applications, this post is about as insightful as they come.