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Subject: Feature suggestion: Radio-like master playlist of playlists.
From: borus_at_web.de
Date: 2002-10-11


Hi List,

the jukebox recorder fits more songs then your average format
radio station plays actively. Format station usually play from
500 - 2000 titles.

So on the hardware-side the jukebox could replace a radio
station easily. The secret is how to select the songs - it's
all about the shuffle. That's why I would like to suggest radio-like
playlist shuffle for future development.

I've thought about this for a long time, so this mail will be a bit
long. I've split this into three parts: The requested feature,
an example how it could work and why I want that so bad...

1. Feature suggestion:
----------------------------------------------------------------
A "master"-playlist of playlists:

- The master list contains the name of other playlists.
- For each playlist entry one song of the playlist is played according
  to the current shuffle settings.
- A playlist can be on the master playlist more than once.
- The master playlist itself *NEVER* gets shuffled - only looped.
- (Optional) Just like with normal shuffle a playlist song does not get
  repeated before every other playlist song has been played.

Limitations:
- Due to memory it could be a problem to keep the track of the
played songs in a playlist. This could be solved by either not keeping
track at all (then this would be a shuffle-only feature) or by limiting
the master playlist to a very low number of entries (like a maximum of
50 entries)

2. Example:
----------------------------------------------------------------

Let's assume there are these playlists on my jukebox:

- current.m3u - Contains 20 pop hits I currently like best
- dance.m3u - Contains 200 dance classics
- pop.m3u - Contains 500 pop hits
- rock.m3u - Contains 200 dance classics
- 80s extended.m3u - Contains 400 12'' vinyl mixes
- jingles.m3u - 5 "you are listening to radio rockbox" messages

An example master playlist could look like this

jingles.m3u
current.m3u
rock.m3u
current.m3u
pop.m3u
rock.m3u
current.m3u
dance.m3u
pop.m3u
current.m3u
jingles.m3u
80s extended.m3u
current.m3u
pop.m3u
current.m3u
pop.m3u
      

On playing the jukebox would start with one of the jingles, play one
random current song, a random rock song, a different random current
song, and so on... you get the idea.

With this master playlist active the jukebox would never play two
current, rock or dance songs in a row and would also only play aprox.
one 12'' extended 80s single per hour.

3. Why:
----------------------------------------------------------------

One of the greatest thing about the jukebox is that it plays in the
background for hours without trouble. This is good for work or in my
situation when I invite friends for board game rounds.

Currently I shuffle through a 600 file list of background-proof music.
Often I get complaints - when the shuffle selects several long 12'' mixes
in a row, plays too much dance or too much 80s music. While I like most
of the stuff on my box, an uneven mix can seriouly annoy my co-workers that
then want radio instead... I also run into the problem that all songs have
the same priority. So to increase the chance of play I have to add a song
to a playlist more often (which creates unwanted repeat side effects)

So I often think: My mp3 jukebox holds more & better songs than a radio
station plays actively, why can't it behave like one?

I've studied business information systems and my diploma topic was the
system analysis of a large commercial radio station. While writing that
I got to see how they orginize their music. What's surprising is that
radio stations limit the songs they play to a small number and make sure to
shuffle those in a way that the casual listener doesn't realize it. All
daytime music played over months by my #1 local station would fit on my
jukebox!

Radio stations have the music they play in several playlist categories.
Some lists are short and are played in entirety more than once a day. Other
lists are long and songs might only be played once a month. The stations
then have templates (or clocks) that get filled from the lists.
Besides random shuffling they have complicated sets of rules that make
sure that the music really gets shuffled.

Some examples: They make sure it's more likely for a female singer to
follow a male, for a single artist to follow a group and so on. They
also make sure that after a song of an artist is played that he's blocked
for a certain amount of time - which includes duets and group performances.

The filled templates then get played.

Back to the jukebox:
The master playlist would turn the jukebox into the perfect background
music tool. It would behave like a radio station, but like one that only
ever plays what you want.

Now wouldn't that be cool...

Looking forward to your comments

Martin

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