Tuesday, October 25, 2005

You think so?

iTunes has recently introduced a new feature which recommends songs to you based on other things you've purchased. And like every other recommendation service, it has its odd moments.

In previous versions, there was a "Recommendations based on your purchases" section in the wishlist area. It always puzzled me - who the heck wrote the algorithm for this thing? It would tell me I'd love bands or soundtracks that, not only did I not love at all, had absolutely nothing in common with what I'd downloaded. It was like the service was saying to me, "Hey! We see that you like Daft Punk, the Chemical Brothers, and Kid Koala! We think you'll just adore Mister Mister, Rod Stewart, and the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever!" No, not so much.

The new version - called "Just For You" - also has its moments of backwards zen. Last week, it told me I'd probably like 50 Cent's The Massacre based on the fact I'd purchased Rufus Wainwright's Rufus Wainwright. Really? Based on what, exactly? I can't think of a single thing they might have in common. "Ebony and Ivory" my ass!