I was looking for music online to supplement my collection and decided to check out some of the more interesting new software available. A bit of searching around, and I stumbled over Moodamp.
The premise is good, at least. You tell the software what mood you’re currently in, and then rate each song as you hear it. Eventually, Moodamp “learns” what you feel like listening to in that mood and plays mostly songs that you’ve given a Good/Awesome rating. Moreover, Moodamp contains a P2P module that you can enable, which will search/download music “like” the songs that you currently think are “Awesome” in that mood.
Reality is a little rougher. Moodamp doesn’t have any way of scanning new music predictively in order to tell if you might like it. This, combined with the fact that it gets new music from P2P by searching for the artist name, leads to some amusing (but annoying) problems. For instance, I have a collection of Lamb (the trip-hop band) songs, which I rate as “Awesome.” Moodamp helpfully goes to download new music for me, and comes back with songs by “Lamb of God” (some sort of heavy metal screamer band) – needless to say, that isn’t at all helpful. And as you might imagine, Moodamp won’t find songs by Hooverphonic or Bjork which might sound vaguely similar to Lamb, since those artists are not named “Lamb.”
After a few more technical glitches, like having no way to tell Moodamp “never download any more Lamb of God music” and no way to delete what it already downloaded (close to 350MB of irrelevant music, most of which I rated as “Bad”), I gave up. A bit more searching and I found indy.tv.
Indy.tv promises to be a search engine for independent, freely available music. That sounds good to me, since I don’t like the possibility of getting sued for downloading. I installed the player (and it has a very, very nice interface) and started rating songs. Indy.tv claims that the player will compare songs you rate favorably to the playlists of other people who have rated those songs favorably, and end up improving its offering such that you hear mostly things that you like.
I spent about 3.5 hours playing with it. After that, I still hadn’t rated a song higher than three stars (“I’d listen to the whole thing” according to the Indy.tv “How to rate” guide). There’s entirely too much pop, country, folk, reggae, and rap, and just plain people-being-silly. I prefer trance, rock, metal, trip-hop, etc. I only heard one song that vaguely qualified in a “techno/trance” category, and it wasn’t good enough to give three stars. I finally just gave up, although I intend to spend another evening playing with it in hopes that I gave up just before it gave me some really kickass music and it’s just waiting for me to fire it up again. (I doubt it.)
I guess I’m still waiting for a music search engine that will scan your collection of music stylistically and somehow match that to music out there. That way if you have no country songs, it won’t waste your time giving you someone’s rendition of Achy Breaky heart, or give you a thousand Bob Marley covers if you listen to nothing but drum’n’bass. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but they’re starting to fall asleep.