Tuesday, 20 May 2008
Islands of Music
It all started about 7 years ago when I was an intern working in Aberdeen (Scotland). Aberdeen is a rather quiet town. It's beach was a wonderful place to sit and think about my MSc thesis which I was working on at that time.
At first I was very enthusiastic about the idea of using a metaphor of islands to visualize a music collection. However, a few years and many not so perfect island of music maps later my enthusiasm had faded away and I had more or less given up trying to map the entire music world onto a map.
Recently at Last.fm we launched our playground and one response we heard a few times was that it wasn't very colorful. (All three initial demonstrations were basically simple lists of artists or tracks.) At the same time I had a dataset of users described in terms of tags loaded in Matlab. Previous results using simple clustering algorithms had shown that it was very easy to extract meaningful clusters.
Now there's an islands of music demonstration on playground. There's also a journal entry talking about how it was computed.