Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Another way to find music

I've been gettings MP3s through a free program called iRate. It downloads songs mainly, I think, from iuma.com, a site where musicians can upload their songs for free (my songs are here), as well as whatever other sites the author discovers. As you listen to songs you rate them, and the program looks for people with similar tast and gives you the songs those people like (along with the occassional completely arbitrary song to catch those genres you might like but haven't rated yet).

The program is originally seeded with what I think is just stuff the guy who wrote the app likes, so until I'd given enough of those negative ratings I was getting a lot of dance and trance music. After a couple of days of rating songs I started getting an interesting mix of bluegrass, jazz, classical and alternative rock, and I'm getting more and more good comedy songs. In a way, it paints a little picture of one's musical tastes. It's coming up with some really cool songs; if not for iRate I probably never would have heard Ruth Wallis's song Boobs. Nor would I have heard Man Bites God's terrific The Annoying Song.

iRate isn't totally user friendly. To install it you need to download a java thing if you don't have it already (instructions on the site). That's not bad, but after it installs, it doesn't create any sort of shortcut to run the program. Basically, you run the install program and it installs it. When you want to run it a second time you need to just run the install program again, and only then will it say, hey, you've used this twice, would you like a shortcut created for it? But this is typical of a lot of the open source software you find at sourceforge, which houses iRate. Once you've got the shortcut it's pretty easy to manage.

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