Here’s a quick update since we first looked at iRATE Radio.
I’ve been playing with iRate for the past week or so. A few things that jump out:
• The system adapts to your tastes fairly rapidly. This is a mixed blessing, depending upon if you are a) looking for new music or b) if you just want a free substitute to satellite radio;
• There is no genre distinction. I would love to see different “channels” for jazz, alternate, hip hop, etc. As the system expands, that’s likely a realistic possibility. As a source for new music or a radio station, it would be more listener friendly to hone in on exactly what you like;
• The lack of genre distinction subtly colors the rating process. Example: I tend to be pretty forgiving of alt.rock, as long as there’s a decent melody and tasty guitar licks. So my overall rating on songs from that genre are probably on average higher then — lets say — pop or hip hop, where I tend to be much more critical (as I like the genre less). iRate has been feeding me more alt.rock songs; Good for listening, perhaps less good for new music discovery.
• For the most part, the streams were pretty clean. Streaming audio gets disrupted easily, depending upon web traffic. For the most part, the iRate streams have been pretty robust. I would imagine that as traffic picks up, this issue could become more of an problem;
• While the Java based iRate is plenty stable, I was able to disrupt it by launching multiple programs or Safari Windows while iRate was streaming (and I have oodles of RAM). Perhaps it’s the CPU load — I’ve found Java apps often take a backseat to other programs in terms of grabbing the Central Processor’s attention;
• Considering that there are no major artists on iRate radio, there is a surprising amount of very good talent here. The biggest risk to iRate’s business model is that it becomes a “minor leagues” for talent to find an audience and then get discovered — and bail to a major label.
All told, a very enjoyable experience, one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to fellow music aficionados as well as casual listeners.
music quick hits
i’m obviously still on the back end of the loop when it comes to the ongoing music business discussion, so in an attempt to catch up and keep myself a bit relevant, i’ve opted to skip the “essay-length” response once…