There is an unwritten rule that blogs should be updated frequently... and I’ve been silent for over two weeks now. I’ve even considered discontinuing this blog. The main reason is that I enjoy what I’m currently doing too much to even think about writing a new entry. I guess it’s a side effect of working for the most exciting music 2.0 service in the world :-)
If I’d try to write a paragraph about what it is that currently fascinates me so much I would probably include words such as: music recommendations, music similarity based on audio analysis & collaborative filtering & tags associated with music, computing audio similarity on millions of tracks, playlist generation, connecting users with users with similar tastes, millions of users, scalability issues, evaluation procedures, Hadoop, LSH and other clever ways to deal with lots of data, for example, I only recently learned that an algorithm as simple as one that efficiently computes an intersection can actually be something very interesting :-)
Furthermore, I not only get to work on fascinating problems, I’m also very lucky to be surrounded by lots of very clever and highly motivated colleagues!
Btw, if you’re a frequent Last.fm user you might have noticed some improvements of the weekly recommendations recently... Norman did a great job on that, and he’s got some further significant improvements lined up.
And of course London itself is another reason why I hardly find time to put something on this blog :-)
Despite all these reasons not to write, there is a reason to write. Webcasters in the US have been demonstrating today what might happen if the recent CRB ruling (dramatic increase in royalties) remains unchanged. Last.fm has decided not to join the protest (for an official statement read this). However, there have been ongoing discussions at the office between those who think we should join the struggles of the small webcasters (after all not too long ago Last.fm was one of them), and those arguing that our user’s are already pissed off (because we’ve had way too many technical problems recently and that we really shouldn’t upset them anymore), and those arguing that all of this won’t help us advance the social music revolution. Anyway, it’s good to see that the day of silence has apparently awakened lots of listeners (as I conclude from these comments on digg). There should be a lot more public discussions on how to compensate artists.