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DNA-based algorithm reveals musical taste

Smart Music Terminal in one of Media Markts store in Germany

An Israeli company has developed a computer algorithm that can identify a persons musical taste and then recommend music specifically tailored to that individual. Using this new algorithm the company has developed a number of applications ranging from cell phone ring tones and karaoke to Smart Music Terminals in music shops that have successfully boosted sales by as much as 20%.

MusicGenome, an Israeli based company, has developed a highly accurate way to identify a persons musical taste through state-of-the-art technology, and thereby recommending new songs based on it. Determining a persons musical taste is no easy task, and in order to accomplish this, MusicGenome has based its technology on novel research in artificial intelligence and music cognition that has been carried out by the company founders, Dr. Dan Gang and Prof. Daniel Lehmann at Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) and at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Based on this technology, MusicGenome can recommend music, not only in relation to genre, but also relative to underlying composition patterns that can be detected only by professional musicians.

MusicGenome's musicians use a set of objective measurements to analyze songs selected from a music library and then assign a "music DNA marker" to each song. A personal musical profile is built by analyzing the user's response to a small sample of songs, or by monitoring his/her listening patterns. With each interaction, more data is gathered and the user's profile is enhanced and "adapted," thus tailoring music recommendations more and more specifically each time. By addressing the cognitive complexity of music, and applying these parameters to any song, MusicGenome is able to analyze each user's personal taste and then recommend additional songs at a success rate that is significantly higher than any other existing method. The technology works on a cross-genre and language independent basis.

A closer look at the Smart Music

Similar songs are sorted according to their appeal to the individual's musical taste. With a search by Property, the "music genetic code" which is generated by MusicGenome can be used for performing highly accurate searches for songs, based on dozens of musical properties, including mood, instruments, tempo, language and more. Multi-Profile Support Musical taste is typically defined for a certain mood or situation. MusicGenome's technology has been designed to allow for multiple profiles to be defined for every individual. For example, a person may receive song recommendations for a "melancholic mood" or for a "romantic dinner" or even for a "workout".

MusicGenome was founded in 2000 and is currently offering its services to retail music chains, cellular telephony providers, content providers and online music sites. Since 2001 MusicGenome has been collaborating with Media Markt, one of the leading chains of record stores in Germany. By installing dozens of Smart Music Terminals across its store chain Media Markt sales have grown by as much as 20% in six months. Similar success was achieved in the Israeli branch of the Tower Records Company. MusicGenome is also currently working on an algorithm that will recommend movies in a similar way. This new feature should be available soon.

Iddo Genuth

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