The Filter, a social music recommendation service backed by rock star Peter Gabriel, has released a new version of their software - featuring an improved user interface, a Facebook app and a partnership with Nokia. The Filter is a "playlist creation suite" for iTunes, iPod, iPhone and Apple TV. It works across Windows and Macintosh and it basically allows you to build playlists from the music stored on your PC, Mac, iPod or Nokia mobile phone.
The Filter's user base is reported to be growing at 25,000 a month. The engine can identify 5 million songs, 4.5m of which have clips (short samples). The Filter works by using Bayesian mathematics and it was developed by physicist Martin Hopkins.
The new Facebook application enables you to share your music profile and activity with friends, plus recommend songs. You can also listen to a clip of any recommended song within the app. The Filter has also made a deal with Nokia, whereby data from Nokia's music store has been used to increase the amount of songs that The Filter can recommend to its users. In addition, the latest version of The Filter has added support for the latest Nokia smart-phones.
How The Filter Works
To create a playlist you open up iTunes or Windows Media Player, and let The Filter analyse your library. You then click on ÄòCreate a PlaylistÄô to generate one based on your choice of artist or song. The desktop application and the website recommends new music, based on your tastes and listening habits. The software also links to the major download stores, like iTunes.
Another feature I like is the 'playlist widget', which shows you the latest songs from your iTunes.
I downloaded the app on my Macbook (it's about 12 MB) and hooked it up with my iTunes. It managed to create some nice playlists, based on either the current playing song (see screenshot below), selected iTunes songs, or something called "The Filter Shuffle" - which chooses a random song from your iTunes and then creates a playlist where all tracks on the playlist are related to each other. All these options created interesting playlists for me.
The music recommendation market is a growing one and ripe with innovation - we've covered MyStrands a few times and of course the likes of last.fm and Pandora both recommend music. Peter Gabriel, an investor in The Filter, is quoted as saying: "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.Ä?
Filtering is certainly the next step from aggregation; and The Filter is beautifully designed software that does a good job of creating suitable playlists. What do you make of The Filter?