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The University of Southampton

Playing our tune: Student designs program that selects your kind of music

Published: 20 March 2003

A final year student at the University of Southampton has devised an advanced computer system, known as Audioscrobbler, that monitors what you listen to, undertakes music recommendations and puts you in touch with other people who possess the same listening tastes.

Richard Jones, who began working on Audioscrobbler as part of his third year computer science project, says his system builds on previous programs by including technology that can assess people's tastes through monitoring what they actually listen to rather than relying on what they say they listen to.

"Users of the system need to download software onto their computer that monitors what artists they listen to," explains Richard. "The data is then collated and a pattern emerges by way of a technique known as "collaborative filtering". The results are then recorded against a username and can be compared with the listening tastes of other members."

Richard hopes to develop a 'community feel' and says Audioscrobbler will "provide a forum for music lovers to discuss artists and songs enabling word-of-mouth to influence what CDs to buy in record shops."

So far Audioscrobbler has over 2,000 users and hundreds have offered suggestions concerning further site development. "What I have achieved so far is just the tip of the iceberg," says Richard. "There is much more to work on and I want this site to become the way to discover and promote new music."

Notes for editors

The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University, which celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 2002, has 20,000 students and over 4,500 staff and plays an important role in the City of Southampton. Its annual turnover is in the region of £235 million.

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