WebApp: Readtrack

Readtrack is an experimental tool built during the 2012 NYT TimesOpen Hack Day. It gives music recommendations based on the content you’re looking at by doing semantic analysis of the current URL. It exists as a bookmarklet which you click whenever you’d like to hear some music.

There are 3 different APIs involved in making Readtrack work:

  • AlchemyAPI‘s Concept Tagging API is used to analyze the content of the current page and provide a list of keywords which related to the concepts represented there.
  • The top 2 concepts are then passed to EchoNest‘s Song search API to find matching songs. As part of the search requirements, we only load tracks which have a corresponding rdio identifier.
  • Those tracks are then loaded and played in order via a simple jQuery-powered web-player using rdio’s Web Playback API.

Here’s a short video of how it all comes together:

If you’d like to take it for a spin, you’ll need to get a few developer keys (AlchemyAPI and EchoNest) and then install it on your own locally-hosted web server. Note that it will only operate when served from “localhost” due to domain restrictions on the Web Playback API token used.

Download   Readtrack (34.9 KiB, 300 hits)

You will also need to drag and drop this bookmarklet to install it in your browser:

Readtrack (assumes you set up readtrack at http://localhost/readtrack/, if not then just change that URL to point to the right location)

Be warned: this was an experiment, and sometimes gives some really weird results. There’s no concept of a “taste profile”, so you’ll get things you don’t like, and you’ll get them more than once. If you don’t have an rdio account, then you’ll only hear the first 15 – 30 seconds of the suggested tracks, then it will default back to your trial user playlist.