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July 19, 2006


Thomas Lord

First, thanks for the neat blog and the neat company.

Second, the URL you give for Paul Lamere is busticated. It's not hard for the web savvy to find the page you meant but you might want to fix it.

Third: so, you say you aren't evil. Ok, well, this project at Sun *is*, at least to the extent it isn't just a waste. The perceptual parameters of musical similarity are pretty well understood by musicians, no? Timbre, melody, harmonic structure, lyrics, rythm, song structure, etc. But that's technical, not musical. They say:

Every song is really a series of acoustic features and characteristics that can be measured, analyzed, tracked, and compared,” he said. “So the first thing we do is generate metadata directly from the audio content.” A few of the features that can be extracted and analyzed include pitch, harmony, key, timbre, instrumentation, tempo, rhythm patterns, and intensity or energy level.

That's an awfully funny use of the word "really". "Every song is really....". So, for example, Richie Havens performance of Freedom or Hendrix's National Anthem at Woodstock? It's all about a series of acoustic features. At least according to the lunatics at Sun.

That's Muzak(tm) theory. Using automation to select (and in the inevitable end-game, generate) signals to pump through brains to achieve a commercial effect. This work is entirely towards a simulacrum of music, not music. It's about the usurption, not the understanding, of musical technique. It's brain and culture piracy, "kindly" automated for us with computational resources sufficient to beat Kasparov at chess.


Thomas Lord

Sorry to follow up on my own message but, just .... AAAHHHH.... I want to scream. From the "search inside the music" site at sun....among the many highly ridiculous and offensive comments.... just to select perhaps the most obvious ...

Mr. Lamere also points out that music search capabilities could fundamentally change the music experience itself. [....] "[...] I can picture classical music buffs listening to three different conductors’ interpretations of the Jupiter Symphony and then debating which is best.”

Yeah, stuff like that never happens. What planet is that guy from, anyway?


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