A mixtape for the iPod generation- and beyond! A recent post from Wendell over on the official MusicIP blog, Hear Here, introduced me to a technology to swap virtual mixes (playlists) online using MusicIP and the FIQL website. FIQL is a pretty interesting idea by itself, but when combined with MusicIP, it becomes quite powerful. As Wendell explains, MusicIP can import any FIQL playlist by finding matches from your own music library. If it doesn't find exact matches, it looks for something similar in musical style. These replacements are usually quite smart. For example, I was playing around with some 80s new wave playlists, and nearly all of the replacement songs were also 80s new wave (Mano Negra somehow snuck in). Impressive. You can see from my comments on the original post that there are still some problems with the text pattern and music fingerpring recognition, because the import misses about 10-20% of songs that should match tracks in my collection. Some of these seem to be discrepancies between exact spellings of song titles or artist names, but some others I can't explain. Even if the track names don't produce a match, Wendell claims that the acoustic fingerprint should match if the songs are the same, but this doesn't seem to be happening for me. Let's take a smallish (25) but varied playlist as an example:
MusicIP recognized that I had 12 of the 25 tracks, and could replace a further 11 (meaning it couldn't match 2). Replacing caught a further 2 in my library (The Go! Team, Jimi Hendrix), but missed Massive Attack (typo: Unfinished Sympathy, not Synphony) and Pulp (punctuation seems to confuse the text filter). While the replacements were again "interesting", I would have preferred that the missing tracks from the White Stripes, Coral, and Coldplay would have been replaced by other tracks that I have from the same artist (maybe this can be added as a preference?). Overall, not bad, but an improved text filter should be able to catch the typos, punctuation, and alternate spellings. Same goes for the the acoustic pattern recognition.
It's still a really cool system. If you want to try it yourself, make sure you have the latest version of MusicIP (1.7.1) and a beefy music library. While I might use FIQL to share some interesting playlists that I create, I don't see it replacing mix CDs for friends. The whole point of making mixes for me is to introduce someone to new music, not music that's already in their collection.