Personalized Musical Devices

Current portable mp3 players -despite their simplicity - have already radi- cally changed human music-listening behaviour. Now, the first web-based music information systems which provide contextual information about music simply by connecting already existing services (such as Wikipedia, CDDB, lastFM,etc.), without the utilisation of any musical expertise, are beginning to emerge. Based on current trends in SMC research, we predict that such systems are likely to further develop in the direction of multi-modal, interactive, open and adaptive systems that support both beginners and experts from different cultures in ac- cessing music and music-related information.

My new music friend

I take my expert music companion with me anywhere, anytime, because I love music. The companion doesn't just play music. It gives me a lot of other information about the music - from `practical' things such as transcriptions of instruments and harmonies, to animated visualisations of the structure of the music, contextual information such as style, historical and cultural relations, and the relationship of the piece to other, related pieces and styles.

My device is easy to use. I can talk to it, or I can shake it to show it the kinds of rhythms I like. It is aware of the music being played on radio stations and available in music databases world-wide, and it finds new music that I like in a particular situation. I can point it at music being played by a street band, and it will tell me what it is. It understands my intentions and learns my musical preferences. Sometimes it will surprise me, teaching me something new about music and my taste. And by the way, having had nano-sized loudspeakers (painlessly) implanted in my ears, I listen to my music without bothering with bulky headphones and earplugs.

My music companion also helps me out in social contexts. When I am desperately looking for a date, my companion alerts me there's a dance party around the corner for people with a similar interest in Brazilian music. When I get to it, my companion contacts the DJ system and sends it some of my favourite pieces (rare Brazilian stuff). The girl in the corner just goes "Wow".

My music companion is no longer an isolating device that runs playlists; it's a friend that enhances my musical abilities, reflects my personality and helps me to socialise.