Fun With Itunes

Itunes “Listeners Also Bought” recommendations are usually spot-on, spinning me in all sorts of new directions based on the overall feel (not just the genre) of the artist, leading to many new fab discoveries.

Here’s some proof:

Nick Lowe’s “Jesus Of Cool” sends me to “Get Happy” by Elvis Costello and “Howlin’ Wind” by Graham Parker. “The Soft Bulletin” by the Flaming Lips instruct me that I might also enjoy “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” by Wilco, “Loveless” by My Bloody Valentine and “Z” by My Morning Jacket. Super Furry Animals 2002 Masterstroke “Rings Around The World” points me in the direction of “Let It Come Down” by Spiritualized and Pulp’s swansong “We Love Live”.

Too easy? Let’s try something a little more obscure. Let’s look up “Can Clatters” by the High Llamas* and see what comes up. Oh, it’s the newest release from Stereolab, “Chemical Chords”. Does the big electronic brain at itunes know that Sean O’Hagan was once a member of Stereolab and that both have shared production duties for each other at points in their career, and that both bands share a similar sonic approach to record making? Of course not, ‘cause as I said I believe that these recommendations are user generated based on a customers buying habits, the most bought side by side with the original album going into the “top 5”. At any rate, it’s a pretty cool tool. Allmusic has a similar, and more in-depth and intelligent, way to go about it by means of “similar artists”, “influenced by” and “followers”.

*(by the way, if you’ve never heard of the High Llamas they’re worth checking out. Chief songwriter Sean O’Hagan prays at the sonic alter of Brian Wilson–Pet Sounds, Surf’s Up era—and nobody does it better or with as much love and respect.)