Prentiss Riddle: Toys

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You got CDDB in my GeoURLs! You got GeoURLs in my CDDB!

Ed Vielmetti posts about "a great weird idea for an iPod that knew where you were and played songs appropriate for the place". Ed is inspired in part by the Australian aboriginal concept of songlines, popularized by Bruce Chatwin's book of the same name.

Excellent idea! If you combined it with GeoURLs (and some method of doing wireless downloads of music to an iPod, a bit of a stretch given 2003 infrastructure and copyright law) you could construct a collaborative musical geography.

Hmm. It's tempting to suggest building the "songlines" now even if iPods don't yet have GPS plugins. That way people could burn road trip CDs and/or assemble iPod playlists in advance of taking a trip.

A "songlines" system would require a GeoURL engine with hooks to CDDB or an equivalent music database, preferably with a bit more annotation capability than GeoURLs offer; a way to plan a route and query the GeoURL engine to produce a playlist; preferably some capability in the playlist generator to filter CDDB info for genre (no death metal, thanks) and song density (the songs associated with Graceland or Times Square or Austin's Sixth Street would run into the thousands, while some highways would be lucky to have one song per 50 miles). The hard part would be a discovery agent to trawl various file-sharing systems for the MP3s. (As far as I know there's nothing like a cross-platform URL or ISBN for music tracks, is there?)

P.S. The "songlines" name has been used at least once already for an interesting "geo-annotation and collaborative cartography" system in Utrecht. It sounds a lot like this idea but without the music.

P.P.S. Constructing playlists from routes in real space gives rise to the idea of constructing them from paths in a virtual space. Imagine a musical Wiki in which the nodes correspond to songs and the links represent segues. Call it a collaborative Wiki Wiki DJ. A link might reflect an interesting (or serious or amusing) comparison or contrast between two songs in terms of style, melody, textual reference, chronology, etc. Any "hunt the wumpus" path through the Wiki would define a playlist. Ed, Adina, heard of anybody doing something like this? (Once again I crave a URL standard for designating songs!)

toys 2003.08.04 link