Thursday, September 11, 2008

Apple's Genius is (Close to) Genius

Apple have just released iTunes 8 with a new feature they've called Genius. It operates in two ways. Firstly when you select and play a track a list appears in the Genius sidebar listing similar tracks that you can explore, and most importantly from their point of view, buy, from the iTunes store. The other way that Genius operates is to create a playlist from your own iTunes library after you click the magic button, having selected an initial song from your library. It's a bit like listening to a familiar and trusted radio station in that if the songs are in your library it stands to reason that you probably like them. What's brilliant about it is the fact that songs pop up that you may well not have listened to in ages. . . years in my case!

I selected Late Night Grande Hotel by the wonderful Nanci Griffiths and clicked the Genius button and this was what popped up from my 40,000 plus iTunes library.

Late Night Grande Hotel • Nanci Griffith
Love Hurts • Emmylou Harris
Texas Trilogy: Bosque County Romance • Lyle Lovett
I Will • Alison Krauss
Night Life • Willie Nelson
The Consequences of Falling • k.d. lang
Keep on the Sunny Side • The Carter Family
It's Just Another Morning Here • Nanci Griffith
Honky Tonkin' • Hank Williams
Gentle On My Mind • Glen Campbell
When You Are Old • Gretchen Peters
Here You Come Again • Dolly Parton
I'm Movin' On • Hank Snow
All I Have To Do Is Dream • Glen Campbell with Bobby Gentry
Return Of The Grievous Angel • Gram Parsons
These Days In An Open Book • Nanci Griffith
I'd Rather Be A Cowboy (Lady's Chains) • John Denver
Maybe • Alison Krauss
Crazy • Willie Nelson
Boulder To Birmingham (live) • Emmylou Harris
After The Gold Rush • Harris, Parton, Ronstadt
Tortured, Tangled Hearts • Dixie Chicks
Gulf Coast Highway • Nanci Griffith
I'll Come Knockin' • Lyle Lovett
Talking In Your Sleep • Crystal Gayle

Some people aren't quite so sure about the idea. On the Guardian's blog there's a note of caution about it becomming a de facto music subscription service. I see the point, but that only works if you dip your hand in your pocket and buy the track. There's another blog, from Canada, that argues is Genius, Good or Evil? My first impression? I think it's Genius, even though some f the track selections are a little quirky.


Ellee Seymour said...

I've seen Nanci Griffith in Cambridge and she was outstanding. You will have to bring this with you and show me. I don't have an iPod or listen to music via itunes.

I was in the Apple store today in Cambridge and bought their iWorks and their slide presentations look amazing. I couldn't resist it. Their salesman told me that the company values customer satisfaction more highly than sales figures. They are certainly very customer friendly.

Richard Havers said...

Ellee, you are a true Apple convert! I've had a Mac for what seems like ever and cannot imagine life without it! I'm envious of you having seen Nanci Griffiths. Her album 'Dust Bowl Symphony' is one of my all time favourites. Trouble in the Fields ought to be the theme to your GM Crops debate! Her song, A Wing and a Wheel is one of my top ten country songs ever. . .

There's a pale sky in the east... all the stars are in the west

Oh, here's to all the dreamers... may our open hearts find rest

The wing and the wheel are gonna carry us along

And we'll have memories for company... long after the songs are gone