Well, that was unfortunate.

Posted by David on Monday, May 8, 2006 at 3:42 PM.

I'm a big fan of Yahoo's Launchcast web radio service -- in a nutshell, they play music, I rate music, and that influences what they play. At this point I've rated over 13,000 items, so it's pretty well tuned to my tastes -- it plays a lot of songs I already like, and a lot of music that's new to me, almost all of which I like.

I'm not sure how the algorithm works, but Launchcast plays music in clusters -- several jazz tracks in a row, for example.

Sometimes those clusters are a little unfortunate, though, as demonstrated by the last two tracks it played.

First, Richard Pryor's painfully funny Supernigger routine:

'Look- up in the sky! It's a crow! It's a bat! No - it's Supernigger! Yes, friends, Supernigger! Able to leap tall buildings with a single bound! Faster than a bowl of chitlins! We find Supernigger with his X-ray vision, that enables him to see through everything except whitey."

That track was followed by Tennesee Ernie Ford's "Hey, Mr. Cotton Picker". A cheery little number about how much fun the cotton pickers have in the fields.

Uh... yeah.

(I can't guarantee it'll be offensive, but you can listen to my station if you like.)

Andrew, on Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at 6:47 AM:

I'll bet Launchcast and Pandora don't play nice. Does Launchcast also inherit from the Music Genome Project? I have a SqueezeBox and frackin love it; they made a deal with Pandora and I've been tuning it for a few months. It's suckered onto a few of my neural circuits, but you know, you gotta wonder about these feedback constraint systems -- also those powering news selection: Digg, Reddit -- and if they lead to a taste vacuum: there are no radical surprises anymore. And on we can go, into a discussion of how the development of one's taste, like a healthy democracy, needs chaotic interruptions, discontinuities, forced confrontations. But it's Tuesday morning, there's code to hack, and money out there to siphon into richer pockets, so why am I wasting my time here?

David Adam Edelstein, on Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at 6:56 AM:

Launchcast, at least, has a knob I can turn, to hear more or less new music. I can also have separate stations in my account, most of which I have set to play mostly new music.