Gadgets

Published on June 21st, 2017 | by Alan Cross

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Voice-Activated Music Search: It’s Gonna be a Thing. And Soon.

When I first saw 2001: A Space Odyssey, I thought it would be cool to be able to have an out-loud conversation with a machine like Hal. But now, half a decade into having an iPhone to speak to, I still feel weird about it.

Siri’s nice and all, but I just feel weird talking to my device. Any device, for that matter. But I’d better get over it because thanks to Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home and whatever the hell Apple wants us to do now, the concept of voice commands is getting bigger–and fast.

All kinds of companies are testing the capabilities and limits of voice control. This includes using voice commands to find the music we want faster and more reliably.

Take Canada’s LyricFind, for example. It’s already the word’s biggest legal database and supplier of song lyrics. Now they’re working on a way for us to find a song just by quoting some lyrics. “Ok, Google. What’s the song that goes ‘Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?'” LyricFind wants us to be able to do that.

Then there’s Muru out of Australia. Their press release says “[we] transform metadata, the basic information about every digital music file, and generates extended playlists to fit every taste, every dynamic, by disrupting the way music is classified in the digital realm. With Muru, anything you can possibly think of with playlists can be controlled by your voice.

“[we] transform metadata, the basic information about every digital music file, and generates extended playlists to fit every taste, every dynamic, by disrupting the way music is classified in the digital realm. With Muru, anything you can possibly think of with playlists can be controlled by your voice.

“Today, we can say ‘Play me some Jazz,’ but with Muru you could say: ‘Play me some Jazz for an hour, starting with something like Billie Holiday and ending with Miles Davis’…then half way through the playlist you can say, ‘Bring the tempo down and play me more songs that I know.’  Or “I’m having a dinner party. Start with “chill out” and end with my favourite Michael Jackson song in 3 hours.'”

Coooool.

Another program that promises to help is Loudr, which provides all the back end metadata for voice service. If you want to browse for songs by, say, composer, a device will search the Loudr database to find what you’re looking for.

Now if only all of these devices were available for sale in Canada…




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker.

In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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