Essential iTunes companion software The Filter is available in a new Mac version, the company announced just before company investor Peter Gabriel performed at last weekend’s Womad Festival.
The Filter is free software that helps iTunes users build well-targeted playlists of music based on the existing contents of their music library. It uses a cutting-edge recommendation engine that learns your musical tastes through your playing habits.
It works with music stored on a Mac or PC and some Nokia phones. Playlists can be stored in iTunes (or Windows Media) and then exported to an iPod for later listening on the go.
Users just choose one or more seed songs and The Filter quickly assembles a playlist based on those tracks. Its ability to find relationships between five million (and rising) pieces of music makes it an easy way to rediscover songs in a music library.
This version delivers a much-improved user interface: drop-down menus have been abandoned in favor of a much cleaner look, and controls are more obvious than before.
The company is also previewing a new feature that lets users build playlists based on the tastes of celebrities, as well as those of their friends.
The final build of The Filter’s Facebook application is available now. This allows music fans to share music profiles and listening habits with others on the social networking service. They can recommend music and offer music clips within their Facebook user profile. A MySpace version is also available.
As well as being a founder member of Genesis, a hitmaker in his own right and a tireless campaigner for human rights and musical diversity, Gabriel has a long-standing association with music and technology. He was an original investor in online music service, 3 OD2 (now acquired by Nokia).
As a musician himself, Gabriel wants to enable digital music services to help music fans discover new music.
The Filter can also recommend you new songs and artists based on what music you have in your library. Recommendations are ‘filtered’ to match your tastes and link to the iTunes Store so you can preview (and purchase) those songs it recommends.
In future, the company hopes to extend its service to cater for all forms of digital content, including video, podcasts and more.
The software uses Bayesian mathematics, a technology developed by frustrated music lover and physicist, Martin Hopkins, who was searching for an easy way to manage his growing digital music collection.
It was developed by U.K. software company Exabre, The Filter has won investment from a range of high profile investors, including Peter Gabriel’s Real World Group and Eden Ventures.
The Filter’s user base is growing at 25,000 a month and the software has been downloaded in 164 countries. The engine can identify five million songs, 4.5 million of which have clips.