Music recommendation, based on sound

Chris Caceres · November 20, 2008 · Short URL:

A new way to discover ‘similar’ music using mufin

mufin, another online music discovery search engine, went live today.  Based out of Germany, mufin takes a unique approach to recommending music.

Unlike its competitors, Pandora,, and the new iTunes Genius, to name a few, mufin uses a scientific technology, which analyzes music based on the actual sounds in the song. As described on the Mufin site, "In the essence (also referred to as the fingerprint) all sound properties of the tracks, such as rhythm, tempo, instrumentation or sound density as well as additional data, such as the title, are saved... The advantage is that the origin, genre, popularity or ratings are not used for the recommendation, only the sound of a music track is decisive when it is recommended by mufin."

Its technology is computer automated, whereas other services all involve a human element. 

Simply put: Other services recommend music subjectively.

Pandora categorizes music using the Musical Genome Project, which involves human interaction. iTunes categorizes music based on metadata, written into the actual .mp3 file involving a human interaction. recommends music based on what other users like and artists they listen to. Once again, human interaction. The list goes on.

I gave mufin a try by searching Miles Davis, “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down”, an experimental Jazz piece.  The piece consists heavily of trumpet solos, along with drums, percussion, bass, funky guitar and keyboards. 

The results were like none I’ve seen before.  One of the top results was Yes, “Heart of the Sunrise," progressive rock defined and not really in the realm of experimental jazz.  With a closer listen, the similar instruments and production style matched Miles Davis.

The following results made me smile, as I heard all sorts of similar sounds in music styles from Latin Jazz to, believe it or not, Kenny Rogers, “I Will Remember You."


Although newborn, mufin comes fully equipped with Facebook, Myspace, and iTunes applications. 

Unfortunately, for now mufin only allows us to check out short clips of music, but promises to provide full songs in the near future. 

Check them out for a different approach to finding ‘similar’ music.

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Joined Vator on is a social networking company which revolves around its music recommendation engine. Recommendations are made by comparing user data to the rest of the user community. This community gives more potential to grow into media other than music. This is most likely a reason why media giant, CBS, acquired for $280 million in May of grew from very modest funding compared to its competitors Pandora, ilike, MyStrands and others.



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Pandora, the leading internet radio service, gives people music they love
anytime, anywhere, through a wide variety of connected devices: laptop and
desktop computers, smartphones, connected BluRay players, connected TVs,
etc. Personalized stations launch instantly with the input of a single “seed” –
a favorite artist, song or genre. The Music Genome Project®, a deeply
detailed, hand-built musical taxonomy, powers the personalization or
Pandora. Using this musicological “DNA” and constant listener feedback
Pandora crafts personalized stations from the more than 800,000 songs that
have been analyzed since the project began in January 2000.
More than 75 million people throughout the United States listen to
personalized radio stations for free on Pandora through their PCs, mobile
phones and devices such as the iPad, and connected in-house devices
ranging from TVs to set-top boxes to Blu-Ray players. Mobile technology has
been a significant factor in the growth and popularity of Pandora, starting
with the introduction of the Apple app store for the iPhone in the summer of
2008. Pandora instantly became one of the most top downloaded apps and
today, according to Nielsen, is one of the top five most popular apps across
all smartphone platforms.

Pandora is free, simple and, thanks to connectivity, available everywhere
consumers are – at the office, at home, in the car and all points in between.
In 2009 the Company announced that Pandora would be incorporated into
the dashboard in Ford cars via SYNC technology; GM has already followed in
announcing plans to integrate Pandora into its vehicles and Mercedes-Benz
introduced their Media Interface Plus device that works with the
free Pandora iPhone app to provide direct control of Pandora from in-dash
stereo controls. This was all great news for the millions of Pandora listeners
who had been plugging their smartphones into car dashboards to listen to
personalized stations while driving. More than 50 percent of radio listening
happens in the car, making it a crucial arena for Pandora.

Today tens of millions of people have a deeply personal connection with
Pandora based on the delight of personalized radio listening and discovery.
These highly engaged listeners reinforce the value Pandora provides to: 1)
musicians, who have found in Pandora a level playing field on which their
music has a greater chance of being played than ever before; 2) advertisers,
who benefit from the multi-platform reach of Pandora, as well as its best
practices in targeting consumers for specific campaigns; 3) the music
industry, which has found in Pandora a highly effective distribution channel;
and 4) automobile and consumer electronics device manufacturers, who have
noted that incorporating Pandora into their product makes it more valuable
to consumers.

Pandora continues to focus on its business in the United States. The radio
arena has never been hotter, thanks to technology that enables radio to be
personalized to the individual and more accessible than ever before. Right
now millions of people listen to Pandora in the United States and we hope
someday to bring Pandora to billions of people around the world.

• 2000 – Tim Westergren’s Music Genome Project begins.
• 2005 – Pandora launches on the web.
• 2008 – Pandora app becomes one of the most consistently downloaded
apps in the Apple store.
• 2009 – Ford announces Pandora will be incorporated into car
dashboard. Alpine and Pioneer begin selling aftermarket radios that
connect to consumers’ iPhones and puts the control and command of
Pandora into the car dashboard.
• 2010 – Pandora is present on more than 200 connected consumer
electronics devices ranging from smartphones to TVs to set-top boxes
to Blu-ray players and is able to stream visual, audio, and interactive
advertising to computers, smartphones, iPads, and in-home connected