Friday, December 29, 2006

Free streaming music for the Wii Browser, just in time for your NYE party!

Here's a sneak peak at the Wii Finetune player beta. The player comes populated with a bunch of Best of 2006 playlists. Try Artist or Tag Radio - streaming audio featuring tracks inspired by either an artist or genre of your choice. Or enter your Finetune profile to listen to your custom playlists. The best music site goes from your PC to your TV.

read more | digg story

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Kringle Release - 12/2006

This one is finally/almost/mostly out! We've been super busy this month.

The finetune team moved offices at the start of the month and it literally took 2 weeks and five separate Verizon tech visits to get our string and dixie cup connection to the internet up and running. Lucky for us, the finetune service doesn't rely on this connection (other then for us to feed it with good stuff, like new code).

What's New - The Stuff we got done!
  • Reskinned - Now with 120% more gleam then our competitors.

  • Pagination and list management everywhere - Some artist pages were getting really slow because they had 1200+ user playlists.

  • Home Page Restructure - A much more goal oriented view of finetune.

  • Wiki Pre-Pre Release - The messages on the home page I leave every few days are coming from a wiki article that I edit. This will be used much more in the next release and we'll let some of you all write too!

  • Popular Artist and Playlists - You're listening in droves and we're crunching the numbers.

  • Fingerprint - Most users will get a list of artists on their profiles. This is distilled from the tracks you've programmed, what you've added to your favorites, and an interpolation of related artists. So... if you've programmed Radiohead on 10 different playlists, and they are also listed as a favorite artist.... they will likely be on your fingerprint. If you also programmed Primal Scream a bunch of times... they will make your finger print. So then the Chemical Brothers and The Stone Roses show up too... and you didn't program them at all... what's going on here? Well both those bands have high relatedness to the two that you programmed. So we infer that point in your fingerprint and its strength based on how related the original artists were to your overall profile. We realize that interpreted artists may not represent you the way you want to be seen... so we'll be providing a way to override anything in your fingerprint in the next release.

  • New For You - Recently added albums that match your extended fingerprint (not just the 10 artists we show)

  • Comment Threads for Artists and Albums - Now you can talk all you want about a particular album and why it is the best.... go forth an argue!

  • Playlist Titles are now searchable - Yeah whatever.

  • Embed Player Changes - All new embeddable players will use an instance id instead of specifically pointing to a particular playlist... This is really good for a bunch of reasons which along with new player features demand a post of its own.

  • Email Playlist - We'll send the list of songs, the playlist icon, Description, and a message from you to someone you want to share with.

  • Email Friend Notification - We'll let you know when someone adds you to their friend list.
Coming Soon - Expect these to roll out over the next few weeks
  • Kindred Spirits - How about some recommended people with fingerprints like yours!

  • Recommended Playlists (needs a better name) - Playlists that our trans-playlist-comparitor 9000 has deemed you will like.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

incremental tweaks...

It's been awhile, sorry. We've been hammering out new features, refining features, and managing all sorts of requests for co-branded players.

Here's what we've been up to... I hesitate to post because I feel like this is all mundane "gotta have it to be a real service stuff."

We've tweaked the algorithm for playing "stations"... now just so you know, stations are just our lingo for a special breed of playlist programmed in house. Tracks on stations have "weight" and the weight of a track helps determine what is an acceptable next track. In other words, we don't want obscure songs following obscure songs... We're bringing you the hits!

We've reworked the tag page view a little.... it's still got a bit to go before we're done but at least you can page through the content for a given tag and pick out the stuff you've tagged. Tagged radio is great... it's our sleeper feature... someday the world will understand...

You can now see you're friends favorite playlists... it used to be the case that viewing a user profile would only show you playlists belonging to that user... well sometimes the best playlists are the ones my friends have discovered... so I ought to be able to see that. Mission Accomplished. There's a view called "Favorite Playlists" from the user profile page.

What else...
  • You can now forget your password and we've got the tools in place to send you a new one... woohoo.
  • We've updated our software infrastructure a bit... Mod_python needs to leak less memory.
  • Expanding Tag, Link, and Fan boxes wherever they show up... don't expect this to stay though... we've got something better brewing.
  • Related Artists listed on album pages... this makes building playlists easier... really!
  • So much other stuff that I can't remember.

Monday, September 18, 2006

finetune development news

Hey there! Okay so now the world is learning about the existence of the finetune beta. We started development on finetune in February 2006, started a closed beta with friends and family in April... and we quietly opened the doors on July 1st. Since then we've been furiously working to improve scalability, make better use of the playlist data, and modernize our flash player. (thanks Teknision, your work is wonderful... we're glad to have you)

Last weekend (September 9th and 10th) we did our first public promotion of the service at collegefest 2006 in Boston. We learned alot... primarily if your booth is between apple (more on this later) and the playboy lounge then you'd better be pretty fast at grabbing people to check it out... and even then you have around 15 seconds before they wander off to get a free t-shirt or energy drink at a nearby booth. The real promotion came by surprise on Monday morning at 9am.

Somehow it just became time for the techno savvy of the blogosphere to write about us. Three articles we're posted that weekend to and by monday morning we hit the front page. Now this was the exact test that I use to drive my team. "Let's not explode if we get dugg." So how did we do? I give us a B+. The service was pretty unusable from 9:30 until 11:30 because our o-so-clever caching system was deadlocked. So the very tool we built to insure our uptime bit us on the arse. We bypassed it for certain types of content, flattened the home page and by 11:30 we were easily handling the digg traffic... unfortunately some damage had been done but we handled the peak load like champs.

Now the blog player... the blog player was to be released on that fateful Monday... but we were too busy firefighting to test the new release and get it pushed.... so we got dugg 1 day before our hot new player hit the service. No looking back on that ... it's up there now and starting to decorate blogs and myspace pages. You can see my own myspace page here (I use it for testing this player and that's pretty much it).

This week (September 18th et al) we'll close the gap between our on-site player and our "portable" player... Look for that late Monday or Tuesday. We've got a bunch of things still on our punch-list... not least of all would be continued refinement of the site UI. We're a tiny team and our goals are huge... so we make surgical changes, see how they work out and then gradually apply them across the site. Keep checking back... I'll be talking about our features for Fall 2006 soon... need more coffee.