Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.


  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20050187976 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/033,465
Publication dateAug 25, 2005
Filing dateJan 10, 2005
Priority dateJan 5, 2001
Also published asUS6928433, US20020147728, US20110314377
Publication number033465, 11033465, US 2005/0187976 A1, US 2005/187976 A1, US 20050187976 A1, US 20050187976A1, US 2005187976 A1, US 2005187976A1, US-A1-20050187976, US-A1-2005187976, US2005/0187976A1, US2005/187976A1, US20050187976 A1, US20050187976A1, US2005187976 A1, US2005187976A1
InventorsRon Goodman, Howard Egan, David Bristow
Original AssigneeCreative Technology Ltd.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic hierarchical categorization of music by metadata
US 20050187976 A1
A method, performed by software executing on the processor of a portable music playback device, that automatically files tracks according to hierarchical structure of categories to organize tracks in a logical order. A user interface is utilized to change the hierarchy, view track names, and select tracks for playback or other operations. The user interface uses an overlapping hierarchy of categories. A song title can be accessed in multiple different ways by starting with different categories. A preferred embodiment of the invention uses the top-level categories “Albums”, “Artists”, “Genres” (or styles), and “Play Lists”. Within the Albums category are names of different albums of songs stored in the device. Within each album are the album tracks, or songs, associated with that album. Navigation is performed by presenting a sequence of display screens for each level of the hierarchy.
Previous page
Next page
1. A method of navigating through a plurality of tracks, the method comprising:
accessing a first hierarchy level of metadata associated with the plurality of tracks;
accessing a second hierarchy level of the metadata in response to a selection from the first hierarchy level; and
either accessing a third level of the hierarchy in response to the selection from the second hierarchy level or selecting at least one track from the second hierarchy level, wherein data pertaining to respective ones of the first, second, and third hierarchy levels are presented in sequential screens, each sequentially presented screen replacing the previously presented screen.
2. The method as recited in claim 1 wherein the plurality of tracks are music tracks.
3. A method for accessing tracks as recited in claim 1, wherein in the first screen the selections available in the listing are one of listings of genre type, listing of album names, listing of artist names selected previously.
4. A portable media player having a plurality of tracks stored therein, the media player comprising:
a display screen;
a user interface; and
a processor configured to present sequentially a first and second display screen on the display of the media player, the plurality of tracks accessed from a hierarchy of metadata, the hierarchy having a plurality of categories, subcategories, and items respectively in descending levels of the hierarchy; wherein the portable media player is configured to:
select at least one member from a first level of the hierarchy in the first display screen of the portable media player;
display an expansion of the selected member in a listing presented in the second display screen; and
select a second member from the expansion in the second display screen; and
display an expansion of the selected second member a third display screen; and
accessing at least one track based on a selection made in the second display screen.
5. The portable media player as recited in claim 3 further configured to display an expansion of the selected second member in a third display screen and wherein accessing at least one track is based on a selection made in the third display screen.
  • [0001]
    This application is a continuation of application Ser. No. 09/755,723, entitled AUTOMATIC HIERARCHICAL CATEGORIZATION OF MUSIC BY METADATA, and filed on Jan. 5, 2001, the specification of which is incorporated herein by reference for all purposes. This application is related to application Ser. No. 09/755,629, entitled “System for Selecting and Playing Songs in a Playback Device with a Limited User Interface,” now abandoned (Atty. Docket No. 17002-020800); and application Ser. No. 09/755,367, entitled “Audioplayback Device with Power Savings Storage Access Mode,” issued as U.S. Pat. No. 6,590,730 (Atty. Docket No. 17002-022400), all filed January 5, 2001, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
  • [0002]
    Today, portable consumer electronic devices are more powerful than ever. For example, small, portable music playback devices can store hundreds, even thousands, of compressed songs and can play back the songs at high quality. With the capacity for so many songs, a playback device can store many songs from different albums, artists, styles of music, etc.
  • [0003]
    Music jukeboxes implemented in software executed by a digital computer and portable MP3 and CD players both provide facilities for forming playlists. For example, the OOZIC player, distributed by the assignee of the present application, runs on a host PC and has a playlist feature that allows selection of tracks from the PC's hard disk to be included in the playlist.
  • [0004]
    As storage capacity increases and songs are compressed to shorter file lengths the number of songs that can be stored increases rapidly. Major problems facing the consumer are organizing and accessing the tracks.
  • [0005]
    Typically, portable devices have a user interface including a small screen and buttons. Such a display screen might be, e.g., 1″×2″. This small display size is necessary because of the physical size of the device which is typically carried in the hand. The small size also limits the number, size, shape, and types of user input controls that can be mounted on the device. For example, a few pushbuttons are usually provided to perform all of the device's control functions. Using such a compact user interface to navigate and select among hundreds of songs is inefficient and often frustrating. The display screen can only show a few song titles at one time, and the limited controls make it difficult for a user to arbitrarily select, or move among, the songs.
  • [0006]
    The creation of playlists is one technique to organize the playing of songs. A set of songs can be included in a playlist which is given a name and stored. When the playlist is accessed, the set of songs can be played utilizing various formats such as sequential play or shuffle.
  • [0007]
    However, the creation of playlists itself becomes problematic as the number of songs increases, since the user often arbitrarily selects songs from a large number of tracks to form a playlist. This selection mechanism: can be fairly tedious; does not necessarily produce playlists that are of interest to the user over the course of time; may not remain up-to-date if new songs are added that logically fit into a previously created playlist (e.g. “Favorites by Band X” might become out of date if a new favorite by Band X is added after the playlist was created); and leads to “lost” songs that are not members of any playlist.
  • [0008]
    Accordingly, improved techniques for organizing and grouping tracks useful in a portable music player are needed. Further, it is desirable to provide a user interface suitable for a small device. The user interface should allow a user to efficiently navigate among, and select from, many items stored in the device.
  • [0009]
    The present invention provides an efficient user interface for a small portable music player. The invention is suitable for use with a limited display area and small number of controls to allow a user to efficiently and intuitively navigate among, and select, songs to be played. By using the invention, very large numbers of songs can be easily accessed and played.
  • [0010]
    One aspect of the invention includes an overlapping hierarchy of categories. Categories include items that can also be included in other categories so that the categories “overlap” with each other. Thus, a song title can be accessed in multiple different ways by starting with different categories. For example, a preferred embodiment of the invention uses the top-level categories “Albums”, “Artists”, “Genres” (or styles), and “Play Lists”. Within the Albums category are names of different albums of songs stored in the device. Within each album are the album tracks, or songs, associated with that album. Similarly, the Artists category includes names of artists which are, in turn, associated with their albums and songs. The Genre category includes types of categories of music such as “Rock”, “Hip Hop”, “Rap”, “Easy Listening”, etc. Within these sub-categories are found associated songs. Finally, the “Play Lists” category includes collections of albums and/or songs which are typically defined by the user.
  • [0011]
    Advantageous use is made of the overlapping hierarchy to allow the user to quickly designate a song for playback. The device uses three “soft” pushbuttons that have assignable functions. The interface maintains consistent button functionality whenever possible and uses uniform command names and operations on different types of items so that the interface is more intuitive. For example, the user can open and queue both albums and songs with predictable results.
  • [0012]
    The interface also provides for multiple functions for a single control. For example, a “Play” button can act, in a first function, to play a currently-selected song. The Play button can act, in a second function, to cycle through different playback modes. The modes can be, e.g., (1) playback of songs from a hard disk; (2) playback of music from a radio receiver built into the device; and (3) playback of voice messages. The first function for the Play button can be activated by momentarily depressing the Play button for a short period of time. The second function is invoked by depressing the Play button for a longer period of time whereupon the device cycles through the different modes. Other ways of invoking the functions are possible such as where the second function is automatically entered from a powered-down state.
  • [0013]
    In one embodiment, the invention provides a method for selecting songs to be played in an electronic audio device, wherein the device includes a display and one or more user input controls, wherein songs are organized into categories, albums, wherein songs and albums are associated with artist names. The method includes steps of displaying categories on the display; accepting signals from a user input control to select a category; displaying one or more songs in the selected category on the display; accepting signals from a user input control to select a displayed song; and entering selected songs into a playlist queue, wherein the device plays back songs in the playlist queue.
  • [0014]
    According to one aspect of the present invention, a technique is provided for organizing tracks on a portable music player by automatically filing tracks in a hierarchical order based on attributes of the tracks.
  • [0015]
    According to another aspect of the invention, metadata is associated with each track that is used to automatically define the track's appropriate place in the hierarchy.
  • [0016]
    According to another aspect of the invention, the hierarchy is displayed on the portable music player so that a user can traverse the organizational hierarchy to find individual tracks or find playlists composed of logical groups of tracks.
  • [0017]
    According to another aspect of the invention, the hierarchy is derived by using metadata associated with the audio content that was obtained through any source of metadata (e.g. CDDB metadata, id3v2 metadata, other obtainable metadata) and subsequently stored with or alongside the file that stores the track.
  • [0018]
    According to another aspect of the invention, a file is formatted so that an unaltered track is stored as file data and information about the track is stored in file attribute files.
  • [0019]
    Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent in view of the following detailed description and appended drawings.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of a tree structure for hierarchical filing of tracks;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 2 is a definition file that specifies the hierarchy depicted in FIG. 1;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 3 is a user's view of the hierarchy;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram of a user interface displaying the hierarchical category structure;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 5 is a diagram of a file format for storing filed data and file attributes;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 6 is a flow chart depicting steps for filing tracks according to the hierarchical tree structure;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 7 depicts a tree resulting from searching the tracks;
  • [0027]
    FIG. 8 depicts a format for a user interface;
  • [0028]
    FIG. 9 illustrates the NOMAD Jukebox and its user interface controls;
  • [0029]
    FIG. 10 illustrates a sequence of display screens describing how to navigate to lower levels;
  • [0030]
    FIG. 11 illustrates associations among items;
  • [0031]
    FIG. 12 shows display screens used to search for a song or other item;
  • [0032]
    FIG. 13 illustrates details of different items; and
  • [0033]
    FIG. 14 illustrates a playback device coupled to a host computer system.
  • [0034]
    A preferred embodiment of the invention will now be described in the context of a portable personal player that plays audio files stored in memory. The files may be in MP3, wav. or other digital formats.
  • [0035]
    In the presently described embodiment, users are able to see the tracks on their player in some organized fashion other than as a single list of tracks. As will be described in more detail below, in one embodiment tracks are sorted utilizing a tree structure having branches labeled according to types of metadata associated with the tracks
  • [0036]
    For example, a track recorded as “Golden Slumbers” by the Beatles that appears on their album “Hey Jude” might appear as a track under the album “Abbey Road” as well as a track under the list of tracks by the Beatles. It might appear as a track under the genre “Pop Rock” as well as “Songs from the 60's.” Furthermore, the organization can have more complex hierarchies. For example, the category of “Pop Rock” might contain subcategories “British Musicians,” “American Musicians” and “Other Musicians”. In all cases, the track is automatically filed into all appropriate locations without requiring user interaction.
  • [0037]
    In the currently defined embodiment, a tree structure is defined by a file having the following structure.
  • [0038]
    The first line of a TreeDef.inf file contains a version number:
      • V1.0
  • [0040]
    Each subsequent line (at least in v1.0) contains lines of the following format:
      • CATEGORY_NAMEs are the top-level names of the branch under which tracks are sorted. They include things like “Album,” “Artist,” “Voice Tracks,” “All Tracks,” etc.
  • [0043]
    TRACK_TYPE_MASKs tell which types of tracks are to be filed under this particular branch. The actual value is a hexadecimal numerical value (in ‘0×’ format, e.g. 0×01) generated by ORing the following flags together as appropriate:
    enum tTrackType
  • [0044]
    So, for example, the “Album” branch has a TRACK_TYPE_MASK of kTTSong, because only songs are filed under that branch, but the “All Tracks” branch has a TRACK_TYPE_MASK of (kTTSong|kTTVoice|kTTBook).
  • [0045]
    Other elements might be added to tTrackType (e.g. kTTVideo) as appropriate.
  • [0046]
    CATEGORY_STRUCTUREs tell how to file the songs based on their metadata information. The CATEGORY_STRUCTURE is a string of characters that tell, from left to right, the order of hierarchy. The characters come from the following enum constants:
    enum tFileTag
  • [0047]
    Thus, a CATEGORY_STRUCTURE of LN tells to create a subcategory that is a list of Albums, each of which contains a list of Tracks.
  • [0048]
    In total, a line like:
      • Album|0×01|LN
  • [0050]
    Says to create a branch called “Album” which contains tracks of type kTTSong organized first by album name, and then by track name.
  • [0051]
    The following is an example of a tree definition file similar (though not identical) to the hierarchy presented in the Nomad Jukebox product (the ‘B’ before each FileTag was used to identify that these are basic tags so that we wouldn't run out of letters in the alphabet as we included more complex metadata—thus each group of two letters represents a level in the hierarchy):
      • V1.0
      • Album|0×01|BLBN
      • Artist|0×01|BMBN
      • Genre|0×01|BGBN
      • Voice Tracks|0×02|BSBGBN
      • Playlists|0×10|BN
      • Macros|0×08|BN
      • All Tracks|0×07|BN
  • [0060]
    FIG. 1 depicts a hypothetical organization hierarchy. The tree shows how tracks might be listed (as leaves in the tree) after having been organized. Example values for nodes in the tree are shown as well. The same track may appear more than once as a leaf in the tree, as described above, if it fits into multiple categories (e.g. a song that appears on the Abbey Road branch would also appear in the Beatles branch). In the example shown, the first branch contains tracks organized by album. As shown in the example, this music collection contains three tracks from “Abbey Road” and three tracks from “Hits from the 60's”. The second branch contains tracks organized by artist, and sub organized by where the artist is from. Thus, a user browsing would first select the “Artists” branch and then choose between “British Artists” and “American Artists”. Finally, they would select the particular artist. In the third branch, all tracks are shown.
  • [0061]
    The tree definition file that would specify the hierarchy shown in FIG. 1 is shown in FIG. 2.
  • [0062]
    The first line identifies the version of the tree definition file.
  • [0063]
    The second line defines the “Albums” branch. The first part of the line, “Albums” defines the name of the branch. The second part, “0×01,” defines that all musical tracks should be categorized on this branch. The third part, “BLBN,” defines that the branch lists first the names of all albums (BL) and then tracks on those albums (BN).
  • [0064]
    The third line defines the “Artists” branch. The first part of the line “Artists” defines the name of the branch. The second part, “0×01,” defines that all musical tracks should be categorized on this branch. The third part, “BCBMBN,” defines that the branch lists first the names of all countries where artists in this collection come from (BC) and under those items, the artists' names (BM), and then tracks by those artists (BN).
  • [0065]
    FIG. 3 shows what a user's view of this hierarchy might be if he/she were shown a fully expanded view of the 6-song tree. Notice that each song appears three times, once in each branch.
  • [0066]
    In consumer products the tree define file is not edited directly but through a user interface, one example of which is depicted in FIG. 4. An example of a user interface for viewing songs by category and editing the tree structure is depicted in FIG. 4.
  • [0067]
    An embodiment of the invention is utilized in the Nomad® Jukebox, manufactured by the assignee of the present invention, and described more fully in the copending application, filed on the same date as the present application, entitled “System for Selecting and Playing Songs in a Playback Device with a Limited User Interface,” (Attny. Docket No. 17002-020800).
  • [0068]
    In a preferred embodiment, metadata is associated with each track and includes such information as title, genre, artist name, type, etc. In the preferred embodiment, software stored in a portable player and executed by the onboard processor automatically files each track in the correct category utilizing the associated metadata and the tree define file. The program code can be stored in any computer readable medium including magnetic storage, CD ROM, optical media, or digital data encoded on an electromagnetic signal.
  • [0069]
    Thus, the user is automatically provided with a powerful and flexible tool for organizing and categorizing the tracks stored on the portable player.
  • [0070]
    If the tracks are formatted in MP3 format the metadata can be stored in ID3 tags included in the MP3 file. In one embodiment of the invention, the tracks are stored in alternate file format including file data and file attributes. The file data is the music track itself and the file attributes part of the file includes fields of arbitrary size which are used to store metadata characterizing the track stored as the file data. Again this metadata includes information about the track such as title, genre, artist name, type, etc.
  • [0071]
    There are several advantages to using the alternate file format. Metadata of types not easily included in an ID3 tag can be utilized. Further, the original track format is not changed, so that error correction data such as checksums are valid. Finally, any file format can be used (e.g. WAV, WMA, etc.) because the metadata is stored separately, and thus audio formats that have limited support for metadata can still be stored on the portable player in native format without transcoding. The formatted files are formed by software stored in the portable music player and executed by an on-board processor.
  • [0072]
    The metadata for each track is utilized to file each track, using the categories defined in the hierarchical structure as described above, without any input from the user.
  • [0073]
    FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram of the alternative file format including file data in the form of an MP3 track, and metadata fields for holding data indicating the name of the album the track is from, the name of the song, the genre of the song, and the type of track.
  • [0074]
    A particular embodiment of a file format will now be described. All tracks are created with some set of attributes as shown below:
  • [0075]
    Definition of TrackInfo Data Field
    Field Offset Size Description
    Attribute Count  0 2 The number of attribute follow for the
    Attr 1 type  2 2 Binary = 0, ASCII = 1
    Attr 1 name len  4 2 Length of attribute name string
    Attr 1 data len  6 4 Length of attribute data
    Attr 1 Name 10 N Attribute name string
    Attr 1 Data 10 + N M Attribute data
    Attr N type
    Attr 1 name len
    Attr 1 data len
    Attr 1 Name
    Attr 1 Data
  • [0076]
    Required Attributes
    Attribute Name Value(s) Remarks
    TITLE ASCII string Required By Jukebox
    CODEC “MP3”, “WMA”, “WAV” Required By Jukebox
    TRACK ID DWORD Set By Jukebox
    ALBUM ASCII string Optional
    ARTIST ASCII string Optional
    GENRE ASCII string Optional
    LENGTH In seconds Optional
    TRACK SIZE In bytes Optional
    TRACK NUM 1-n (track within album) Optional
  • [0077]
    These attributes can be subsequently changeable via a host application, running on a personal computer connected to the portable music player.
  • [0078]
    FIG. 6 shows a flow chart of an embodiment the process used to build the hierarchical database of tracks. It starts by iterating through each track, and, for each track, iterating through each branch to find if the track belongs on the branch, and, if so, where. In this case, the term track could refer to any content, e.g. a music track, a spoken word track, or even a video track.
  • [0079]
    Also, the hierarchical catalog of tracks can be used to form playlists in a structured manner. For example, if a user wants to hear Jazz and Blues the entire sub-categories can be selected to form one playlist.
  • [0080]
    An alternative hierarchical catalog generation technique will now be described. In this alternative embodiment, at system startup and as tracks are added or changed, the hierarchy is generated as an in-memory tree structure. Each track is added to the tree using the categories ALBUM, ARTIST and GENRE.
  • [0081]
    The following example shows the algorithm for adding a track. For clarity, only the attributes used by the tree are shown.
    TITLE “Free Falling”
    ALBUM “Full Moon Fever”
    ARTIST “Tom Petty”
    GENRE “Rock”
  • [0082]
    The following function is executed to build the in-memory memory tree.
    Build Tree ( )
    For each track,
      Add Track To Category(Album, Track)
      Add Track To Category(Artist, Track)
      Add Track To Category(Genre,Track)
    End of Build Tree
  • [0083]
    FIG. 7 depicts a tree which could result from implementing Build Tree( ) function. Note that “Stardust” does not have any entries for Album or Artist. The host software running on a computer connected to the portable music player could be utilized to add missing attributes to the “Stardust” track and, optionally, edit the title attribute. The Build Tree( ) function would then reinsert this track in the correct location in the tree.
  • [0084]
    FIG. 8 is an embodiment of a user interface according to another embodiment of the invention. In this example the root node is labeled “My Configuration” and the Playlist category has been selected and the Playlist subcategory “Meddle” has been selected. Note that the types of Metadata, in this example, Track Name, Artist, Album, Tempo and Dance, are listed across the top of the screen, and the attribute values for each track are listed in a row across the screen. Various control buttons are displayed to the right of configuration window that facilitate quickly invoking selected processing on a selected track.
  • [0085]
    As noted above, a preferred embodiment of the present invention is incorporated into a product manufactured and distributed by Creative Technology, Ltd. The product is called the “NOMAD Jukebox.” The following description describes further details of the display screens and interface controls.
  • [0086]
    FIG. 9 illustrates the NOMAD Jukebox and its user interface controls.
  • [0087]
    In FIG. 9, electronic audio device 100 measures about 5.5″ wide by 5.5″ tall by 1″ thick. Display screen 102 is about 2″ wide by 1″ tall. Display screen 102 includes different regions such as main region 104 and soft button function description region 106.
  • [0088]
    Three soft buttons are located at 108; including buttons 110, 112 and 114. The specific command, or function, that any of the soft buttons perform when depressed is indicated by the label in soft button function description region 106. Thus, the function of soft button 112 (as shown in FIG. 9) is “open,” the function of soft button 114 is “search” while soft button 110 is currently not assigned a function.
  • [0089]
    The other eight buttons on device 100 perform essentially the same functions at all times. In other words, they are not subject to function changes according to soft button function description area 106. These buttons include Library button 116, EAX and System button 118, Skip Backward button 120, Play button 122, Stop button 124, Skip Forward button 126, Scroll Up button 128 and Scroll Down button 130. However, as discussed below, these buttons (or any type of controls used with the device) can include alternate functionality that is invoked in different ways.
  • [0090]
    The device uses visual cues, or indicators, in the display. When an item is highlighted it indicates that the item is the “current” item, or currently-selected item, which is susceptible to be operated on by a subsequent user action—such as playback, or expansion of the item. In FIG. 1, screen 102 shows that the item, “ALBUMS,” is highlighted. The highlighted item can be acted upon by using the soft buttons, or another button, as discussed below. The current item can be changed by using Scroll Up button 128 and Scroll Down button 130 to move the highlight up or down, respectively, throughout a list of displayed items.
  • [0091]
    Icons are used to provide additional visual cues for an item. In FIG. 1, each of the categories has a category icon to the left of it. The category icon, which may not be distinctly visible in the Figure, illustrates a first box connected by lines to additional boxes below the first box. The icon depicts a hierarchy and illustrates the property of categories, i.e., that categories can contain additional categories, songs or other items.
  • [0092]
    FIG. 10 illustrates a sequence of display screens describing how to navigate to lower levels.
  • [0093]
    In FIG. 10, library category screen 150 shows the display as it appears when the user depresses library button 116 of FIG. 9. A preferred embodiment of the device uses 4 first-level categories. These are “Albums”, “Artists,” “Styles” and “Play Lists”. Each of these categories can “contain,” or be associated with, other categories, songs, or items.
  • [0094]
    Note that in library category screen 150 ALBUMS is currently highlighted. By depressing soft button 112 of FIG. 9, the “open” command is performed on the highlighted category, as indicated by the labeling of soft button 112 and soft button function description area 152 of FIG. 10.
  • [0095]
    Lists screen 154 is displayed as a result of a user opening the Albums category of library category screen 150. Lists screen 154 shows items within the Albums category such as commercial albums of multiple songs from a record label, pre-made lists or collections created by a user, or other predefined lists or collections of songs or recordings.
  • [0096]
    In FIG. 10, lists screen 154 shows each item as a list of songs. This is shown visually by the icon to the left of each item which depicts a miniature list. Possible soft button commands are “Close”, “Open” and “Queue”. These commands correspond to soft buttons 110, 112 and 114, respectively. If the user selects the Close command, the display reverts to library category screen 150. If the user selects the Open command, the display shows tracks screen 156. Alternatively, the user can select the Queue command to instruct the device to place all the songs from the selected (i.e., highlighted) list into the play list for eventual playback. Yet another option allows the user to press play button 122 of FIG. 9 to cause any currently-selected songs or a list of songs (e.g., an album) to immediately be played.
  • [0097]
    Returning to FIG. 10, tracks screen 156 shows that a single song called “JukeBox Demo” is in the list. The list is also called JukeBox Demo as shown in lists screen 154. Tracks screen 156 shows possible soft commands assigned to buttons, namely “Close”, “Details” and “Queue.” The Close button performs the same function as before—it returns the user to the previous screen which, in this case, is lists screen 154. The user can also select the Details command to cause details of the song JukeBox Demo to be displayed in details screen 158 as shown in FIG. 10. The user can select the Queue command by soft button 114 to enter the selected song into the play list queue. As before, the user can also depress play button 122 of FIG. 9 to cause immediate playback of the selected song.
  • [0098]
    Details screen 158 shows information about the selected song including the name of the song, album (or list) name containing the song; the track number, if applicable, and track duration. Note that other information can be included. The user can preview the song, close the Details screen to return to the Tracks screen or queue the song on the play list queue.
  • [0099]
    The device provides the ability to “preview” audio files even while a current song, or playlist, is being played. When a user chooses to preview an audio file, the audio file is played for about 10 seconds while any currently-played file or playlist is suspended. After previewing is complete, the suspended file or playlist resumes playback. In other embodiment, the preview duration can vary, or be stopped by user selection.
  • [0100]
    FIG. 11 illustrates associations among items.
  • [0101]
    In FIG. 11, song 168 is one of many songs stored in the device. Categories such as albums 160, artists 162, play lists 164 and genres 166 each include sub-categories. For example, albums 160 includes the names of various albums. Songs are associated with albums, genres and playlists. Such association can be by using pointers, a data structure including items to be associated, etc. “Association” as used herein, includes a first item associated with a second item; and the second item associated with the first item. In other words, albums can be associated with one or more songs in the database of the device so that an automated search to find all songs associated with an album is easier. The direction of arrow pointers in FIG. 11 is not intended to limit the manner of associations among items in the present invention.
  • [0102]
    Similar to albums, the category of artists 162 includes names of artists, or performers, of songs. Each artist name is associated with one or more songs in the database. Playlists 164 includes names of playlists. These are collections of songs that can be defined by the user, the device manufacturer, or others. Each playlist can be associated with one or more songs. Genres 166 includes various styles of music which are associated with one or more songs in the database. Note that items can exist without being associated with a song. Also, items can be associated with other items as where an artist name is associated with the albums containing the songs that the artist has created.
  • [0103]
    Although not shown in FIG. 11, items can have additional information, such as properties, details, etc., associated with the item. For example, a song can have information such as play time, artist name, artist album, copyright owner, etc., associated with the song.
  • [0104]
    FIG. 12 illustrates display screens used to search for a song or other item.
  • [0105]
    In FIG. 12, screen 180 is the initial library screen, as discussed above. If the user invokes the Search command (via the appropriate soft button) with Albums selected then screen 182 is displayed. Note that the search function can be applied to any of the categories. The user can depress the Plus or Minus soft buttons to cycle through the alphabet and change the character in the current location as indicated by the cursor. The cursor position is changed by using the scroll up/scroll down buttons 128 and 130, respectively, of FIG. 9. As each letter is entered the letters are compared and the nearest match of the stored albums' names is displayed as shown in screen 184. When the desired match is displayed the user selects the Go! command.
  • [0106]
    Screen 186 shows the result of selecting the Go! command. A list of albums is displayed with the matched album centered and selected. The user can close, open or queue the album as discussed above.
  • [0107]
    FIG. 13 illustrates details of different items.
  • [0108]
    In FIG. 13, screen 200 illustrates details displayed as a result of selecting the “Details” command from soft button 1A track is selected. Screen 200 shows that details of the track “Jukebox Demo” shows the name of the album that the track resides on, the creator, or copyright owner, of the track, and the playing time of the track.
  • [0109]
    Screen 202 illustrates details of an item on the active queue list. Items are placed onto the active queue list by selecting the “Queue” command when an album, song, track, or other item is selected, as discussed above. For example, screen 204 shows the active queuelist where the track “Jukebox Demo” is selected. By invoking the “Details” command screen 202 is brought up to show details of the Jukebox Demo track.
  • [0110]
    As shown in screen 202, the Detail screen shows what track number the selected track is, which album the track is from; the creator, or copyright owner, of the track, and the title of the track. Additionally, the details for an item on the queue list also show playback settings. These are shown by two-letter abbreviations at the bottom of the screen. The settings are as show in Table I, below.
    EA Environmental Preset
    EQ Parametric EQ
    HS Headphone Spatialization
    TS Time Scaling
    4S Four Channel Speaker Sound
    (only if speakers are connected)
  • [0111]
    These settings have their common meanings, as is known in the art. Note that the setting 4S is not shown in screen 202 as it is not currently active.
  • [0112]
    FIG. 14 illustrates the Nomad Jukebox coupled to a host computer system.
  • [0113]
    In FIG. 14, device 300 (e.g., the Nomad Jukebox) is coupled to host system 302. In a preferred embodiment host system 302 is a personal computer, such as an IBM-PC compatible computer. Host system 302 includes a user interface having display 304 and user input devices such as keyboard 306 and mouse 308. In other embodiments the host system need not be a full computer system. Any type of processing system having a user interface is possible. For example, it is possible to couple the device to a laptop computer, game console, web-enabled television, or any consumer electronic device or digital platform, in general. The host user interface need not provide a display and can be much more minimal than the keyboard and mouse shown in FIG. 14. A preferred embodiment of the invention uses a Universal Synchronous Bus (USB) connection but any type of connection such as IEEE 1394 (FireWire), Ethernet, Serial Port, etc. can be used. A wireless (i.e., optical or radio frequency) connection can be used.
  • [0114]
    Once device 300 is coupled to host system 302, a user of host system 302 can launch a bridge interface to allow for the transfer of files between device 300 and host system 302. In a preferred embodiment, once the bridge interface is launched, the controls of device 300 are inoperable. The user interface of host system 302 is used to operate the bridge interface to transfer files.
  • [0115]
    The invention has now been described with reference to the preferred embodiments. Alternatives and substitutions will now be apparent to persons of skill in the art.
Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4350070 *Feb 25, 1981Sep 21, 1982Bahu Sohail EElectronic music book
US4984103 *Mar 30, 1989Jan 8, 1991Fujitsu America, Inc.Method for reading/writing for a floppy disc drive with buffer memory
US5261087 *Mar 7, 1990Nov 9, 1993Yamaha CorporationElectronic information retrieval system with relative difference analyzer
US5355302 *Mar 6, 1992Oct 11, 1994Arachnid, Inc.System for managing a plurality of computer jukeboxes
US5393927 *Mar 23, 1993Feb 28, 1995Yamaha CorporationAutomatic accompaniment apparatus with indexed pattern searching
US5404316 *Aug 3, 1992Apr 4, 1995Spectra Group Ltd., Inc.Desktop digital video processing system
US5435564 *Dec 22, 1993Jul 25, 1995Franklin Electronic Publishers, IncorporatedElectronic word building machine
US5481509 *Sep 19, 1994Jan 2, 1996Software Control Systems, Inc.Jukebox entertainment system including removable hard drives
US5491795 *May 2, 1994Feb 13, 1996International Business Machines CorporationWindow management system with a hierarchical iconic array and miniature windows
US5530235 *Feb 16, 1995Jun 25, 1996Xerox CorporationInteractive contents revealing storage device
US5557541 *Jul 21, 1994Sep 17, 1996Information Highway Media CorporationApparatus for distributing subscription and on-demand audio programming
US5572442 *Jul 21, 1994Nov 5, 1996Information Highway Media CorporationSystem for distributing subscription and on-demand audio programming
US5590319 *Dec 15, 1993Dec 31, 1996Information Builders, Inc.Query processor for parallel processing in homogenous and heterogenous databases
US5606143 *Aug 23, 1995Feb 25, 1997Artif Technology Corp.Portable apparatus for transmitting wirelessly both musical accompaniment information stored in an integrated circuit card and a user voice input
US5616876 *Apr 19, 1995Apr 1, 1997Microsoft CorporationSystem and methods for selecting music on the basis of subjective content
US5670730 *May 22, 1995Sep 23, 1997Lucent Technologies Inc.Data protocol and method for segmenting memory for a music chip
US5717879 *Nov 3, 1995Feb 10, 1998Xerox CorporationSystem for the capture and replay of temporal data representing collaborative activities
US5717925 *Jun 5, 1996Feb 10, 1998International Business Machines CorporationInformation catalog system with object-dependent functionality
US5721911 *Jun 25, 1996Feb 24, 1998International Business Machines CorporationMechanism for metadata for an information catalog system
US5739451 *Dec 27, 1996Apr 14, 1998Franklin Electronic Publishers, IncorporatedHand held electronic music encyclopedia with text and note structure search
US5787292 *Apr 1, 1996Jul 28, 1998International Business Machines CorporationPower saving method and apparatus for use in multiple frequency zone drives
US5851979 *Mar 27, 1997Dec 22, 1998The Procter & Gamble CompanyPseudoplastic and thixotropic cleaning compositions with specifically defined viscosity profile
US5857203 *Jul 29, 1996Jan 5, 1999International Business Machines CorporationMethod and apparatus for dividing, mapping and storing large digital objects in a client/server library system
US5862325 *Sep 27, 1996Jan 19, 1999Intermind CorporationComputer-based communication system and method using metadata defining a control structure
US5864868 *Feb 13, 1996Jan 26, 1999Contois; David C.Computer control system and user interface for media playing devices
US5870710 *Jan 22, 1997Feb 9, 1999Sony CorporationAudio transmission, recording and reproducing system
US5914941 *May 25, 1995Jun 22, 1999Information Highway Media CorporationPortable information storage/playback apparatus having a data interface
US5917488 *Aug 21, 1996Jun 29, 1999Apple Computer, Inc.System and method for displaying and manipulating image data sets
US5918303 *Nov 25, 1997Jun 29, 1999Yamaha CorporationPerformance setting data selecting apparatus
US5924090 *May 1, 1997Jul 13, 1999Northern Light Technology LlcMethod and apparatus for searching a database of records
US5963916 *Oct 31, 1996Oct 5, 1999Intouch Group, Inc.Network apparatus and method for preview of music products and compilation of market data
US5966122 *Mar 10, 1997Oct 12, 1999Nikon CorporationElectronic camera
US5969283 *Jun 17, 1998Oct 19, 1999Looney Productions, LlcMusic organizer and entertainment center
US5999173 *Apr 3, 1992Dec 7, 1999Adobe Systems IncorporatedMethod and apparatus for video editing with video clip representations displayed along a time line
US6028605 *Feb 3, 1998Feb 22, 2000Documentum, Inc.Multi-dimensional analysis of objects by manipulating discovered semantic properties
US6055543 *Nov 21, 1997Apr 25, 2000VeranoFile wrapper containing cataloging information for content searching across multiple platforms
US6061692 *Nov 4, 1997May 9, 2000Microsoft CorporationSystem and method for administering a meta database as an integral component of an information server
US6062868 *Oct 18, 1996May 16, 2000Pioneer Electronic CorporationSing-along data transmitting method and a sing-along data transmitting/receiving system
US6084582 *Jul 2, 1997Jul 4, 2000Microsoft CorporationMethod and apparatus for recording a voice narration to accompany a slide show
US6097389 *Oct 24, 1997Aug 1, 2000Pictra, Inc.Methods and apparatuses for presenting a collection of digital media in a media container
US6121966 *Jun 18, 1996Sep 19, 2000Apple Computer, Inc.Navigable viewing system
US6122641 *Feb 12, 1999Sep 19, 2000Next Software, Inc.Method and apparatus for mapping objects to multiple tables of a database
US6131100 *Mar 3, 1998Oct 10, 2000Zellweger; PaulMethod and apparatus for a menu system for generating menu data from external sources
US6163781 *Sep 11, 1997Dec 19, 2000Physician Weblink Technology Services, Inc.Object-to-relational data converter mapping attributes to object instance into relational tables
US6166735 *Dec 3, 1997Dec 26, 2000International Business Machines CorporationVideo story board user interface for selective downloading and displaying of desired portions of remote-stored video data objects
US6182126 *Oct 12, 1995Jan 30, 2001Touchtunes Music CorporationHome digital audiovisual information recording and playback system
US6199059 *Apr 22, 1998Mar 6, 2001International Computex, Inc.System and method for classifying and retrieving information with virtual object hierarchy
US6212524 *May 6, 1998Apr 3, 2001E.Piphany, Inc.Method and apparatus for creating and populating a datamart
US6240407 *Dec 17, 1998May 29, 2001International Business Machines Corp.Method and apparatus for creating an index in a database system
US6248946 *Mar 1, 2000Jun 19, 2001Ijockey, Inc.Multimedia content delivery system and method
US6256031 *Jun 26, 1998Jul 3, 2001Microsoft CorporationIntegration of physical and virtual namespace
US6263341 *Jun 7, 1995Jul 17, 2001Texas Instruments IncorporatedInformation repository system and method including data objects and a relationship object
US6269394 *Dec 16, 1998Jul 31, 2001Brian KennerSystem and method for delivery of video data over a computer network
US6282548 *Jun 21, 1997Aug 28, 2001Alexa InternetAutomatically generate and displaying metadata as supplemental information concurrently with the web page, there being no link between web page and metadata
US6310848 *Apr 13, 1999Oct 30, 2001Victor Company Of Japan, Ltd.Power saving system for optical disc recording/reproducing apparatus
US6311194 *Aug 21, 2000Oct 30, 2001Taalee, Inc.System and method for creating a semantic web and its applications in browsing, searching, profiling, personalization and advertising
US6333752 *Mar 12, 1999Dec 25, 2001Ricoh Company, Ltd.Image processing apparatus, image processing method, and a computer-readable storage medium containing a computer program for image processing recorded thereon
US6346951 *Sep 23, 1997Feb 12, 2002Touchtunes Music CorporationProcess for selecting a recording on a digital audiovisual reproduction system, for implementing the process
US6362900 *Dec 30, 1998Mar 26, 2002Eastman Kodak CompanySystem and method of constructing a photo album
US6363377 *Dec 22, 1998Mar 26, 2002Sarnoff CorporationSearch data processor
US6377530 *Feb 12, 1999Apr 23, 2002Compaq Computer CorporationSystem and method for playing compressed audio data
US6389426 *Feb 9, 1999May 14, 2002Worldcom, Inc.Central trouble ticket database and system and method for managing same to facilitate ticketing, trending, and tracking processes
US6405215 *Aug 19, 1999Jun 11, 2002International Business Machines Corp.Workflow agent for a multimedia database system
US6430575 *Sep 10, 1999Aug 6, 2002Xerox CorporationCollaborative document management system with customizable filing structures that are mutually intelligible
US6449341 *Aug 25, 1998Sep 10, 2002Mci Communications CorporationApparatus and method for managing a software system via analysis of call center trouble tickets
US6453078 *Aug 28, 1998Sep 17, 2002Eastman Kodak CompanySelecting, arranging, and printing digital images from thumbnail images
US6590730 *Jan 5, 2001Jul 8, 2003Creative Technology Ltd.System for managing power in a portable music player
US6624826 *Sep 28, 1999Sep 23, 2003Ricoh Co., Ltd.Method and apparatus for generating visual representations for audio documents
US6649942 *May 21, 2002Nov 18, 2003Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.Nitride-based semiconductor light-emitting device
US6760721 *Apr 14, 2000Jul 6, 2004Realnetworks, Inc.System and method of managing metadata data
US6976229 *Dec 16, 1999Dec 13, 2005Ricoh Co., Ltd.Method and apparatus for storytelling with digital photographs
US20010008471 *Nov 29, 2000Jul 19, 2001Shinichi NaoharaRecording/reproducing apparatus
US20020045960 *Oct 10, 2001Apr 18, 2002Interactive Objects, Inc.System and method for musical playlist selection in a portable audio device
US20020089774 *Jan 5, 2001Jul 11, 2002Andrei VeltchevSystem for managing power in a portable music player
US20030016940 *Jul 18, 2001Jan 23, 2003Robbins Gerald V.Single use media device
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7790974Sep 7, 2010Microsoft CorporationMetadata-based song creation and editing
US7858867Jul 27, 2010Dec 28, 2010Microsoft CorporationMetadata-based song creation and editing
US8001164 *May 18, 2006Aug 16, 2011Lg Electronics Inc.Method for providing file information in portable device
US8028038May 5, 2004Sep 27, 2011Dryden Enterprises, LlcObtaining a playlist based on user profile matching
US8028323May 5, 2004Sep 27, 2011Dryden Enterprises, LlcMethod and system for employing a first device to direct a networked audio device to obtain a media item
US8086333Jul 5, 2006Dec 27, 2011Sony CorporationReproducing apparatus, reproducing method, and reproducing program
US8117216 *Aug 26, 2008Feb 14, 2012Amazon Technologies, Inc.Automated selection of item categories for presenting item recommendations
US8219928 *Jul 20, 2006Jul 10, 2012Sony CorporationReproduction device and display control method
US8225235Jun 30, 2005Jul 17, 2012Sony CorporationReproduction apparatus and reproduction method
US8230099Jul 24, 2012Dryden Enterprises, LlcSystem and method for sharing playlists
US8307305Nov 6, 2012Canon Kabushiki KaishaScrolling interface
US8392528Nov 22, 2005Mar 5, 2013Motorola Mobility LlcArchitecture for sharing podcast information
US8397180Dec 7, 2007Mar 12, 2013Canon Kabushiki KaishaScrolling browser with previewing area
US8458356Jun 4, 2013Black Hills MediaSystem and method for sharing playlists
US8458616Jun 4, 2013Sony CorporationData display method and reproduction apparatus
US8635236 *Dec 22, 2008Jan 21, 2014Microsoft CorporationAugmented list for searching large indexes
US8725740Mar 24, 2008May 13, 2014Napo Enterprises, LlcActive playlist having dynamic media item groups
US8856684Dec 7, 2007Oct 7, 2014Canon Kabushiki KaishaScrolling interface
US9008634Oct 6, 2006Apr 14, 2015Napo Enterprises, LlcSystem and method for providing media content selections
US9064543 *May 11, 2006Jun 23, 2015Sony CorporationReproducing apparatus, data processing method, and reproduction system
US9178946Jan 24, 2008Nov 3, 2015Black Hills Media, LlcDevice discovery for digital entertainment network
US9312827Nov 18, 2014Apr 12, 2016Black Hills Media, LlcNetwork enabled audio device and radio site
US9397627Nov 27, 2006Jul 19, 2016Black Hills Media, LlcNetwork-enabled audio device
US20040002993 *Jun 26, 2002Jan 1, 2004Microsoft CorporationUser feedback processing of metadata associated with digital media files
US20050015405 *Jul 18, 2003Jan 20, 2005Microsoft CorporationMulti-valued properties
US20050117464 *Oct 13, 2004Jun 2, 2005Koji AkitaDisk playback apparatus and method
US20050235811 *Apr 18, 2005Oct 27, 2005Dukane Michael KSystems for and methods of selection, characterization and automated sequencing of media content
US20050251565 *May 5, 2004Nov 10, 2005Martin WeelHybrid set-top box for digital entertainment network
US20050251576 *May 5, 2004Nov 10, 2005Martin WeelDevice discovery for digital entertainment network
US20050251807 *May 5, 2004Nov 10, 2005Martin WeelSystem and method for sharing playlists
US20060010099 *Jun 30, 2005Jan 12, 2006Sony CorporationReproduction apparatus and reproduction method
US20060269229 *May 11, 2006Nov 30, 2006Takashi KinouchiReproducing apparatus, data processing method, and reproduction system
US20060277204 *May 18, 2006Dec 7, 2006Kim Hong KMethod for providing file information in portable device
US20070008830 *Jul 5, 2006Jan 11, 2007Sony CorporationReproducing apparatus, reproducing method, and reproducing program
US20070027923 *Jul 20, 2006Feb 1, 2007Sony CorporationReproduction device and display control method
US20070031116 *Jul 21, 2006Feb 8, 2007Sony CorporationReproducing apparatus, reproducing method, and content reproducing system
US20070048172 *Feb 24, 2006Mar 1, 2007Indium Corporation Of AmericaTechnique for increasing the compliance of tin-indium solders
US20070071634 *Jun 7, 2006Mar 29, 2007Indium Corporation Of AmericaLow melting temperature compliant solders
US20070073767 *Nov 13, 2006Mar 29, 2007Microsoft CorporationMedia identifier registry
US20070118657 *Nov 22, 2005May 24, 2007Motorola, Inc.Method and system for sharing podcast information
US20070118853 *Nov 22, 2005May 24, 2007Motorola, Inc.Architecture for sharing podcast information
US20070136286 *Nov 2, 2006Jun 14, 2007Canon Kabushiki KaishaSortable Collection Browser
US20070261535 *May 1, 2006Nov 15, 2007Microsoft CorporationMetadata-based song creation and editing
US20080098875 *Feb 12, 2007May 1, 2008Via Technologies, Inc.Music playback systems and methods
US20080150892 *Dec 7, 2007Jun 26, 2008Canon Kabushiki KaishaCollection browser for image items with multi-valued attributes
US20080154953 *May 3, 2006Jun 26, 2008Sony CorporationData display method and reproduction apparatus
US20080155474 *Dec 7, 2007Jun 26, 2008Canon Kabushiki KaishaScrolling interface
US20080155475 *Dec 7, 2007Jun 26, 2008Canon Kabushiki KaishaScrolling interface
US20080209013 *May 2, 2008Aug 28, 2008Conpact, Inc.System and method for sharing playlists
US20080262641 *Apr 3, 2008Oct 23, 2008Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.Method and apparatus for playing back contents in a mobile communication terminal
US20090077160 *Oct 6, 2006Mar 19, 2009Concert Technology CorporationSystem and method for providing media content selections
US20100010997 *Jul 11, 2008Jan 14, 2010Abo Enterprise, LLCMethod and system for rescoring a playlist
US20100094627 *Oct 15, 2008Apr 15, 2010Concert Technology CorporationAutomatic identification of tags for user generated content
US20100162175 *Dec 22, 2008Jun 24, 2010Microsoft CorporationAugmented list for searching large indexes
US20100217410 *Aug 26, 2010Yang PanUser interface for home media system
US20100288106 *Nov 18, 2010Microsoft CorporationMetadata-based song creation and editing
US20140365608 *Aug 25, 2014Dec 11, 2014Microsoft CorporationArrangement for synchronizing media files with portable devices
US20150154534 *Dec 2, 2013Jun 4, 2015Information Resources, Inc.Virtual product hierarchies
EP1724781A2 *May 19, 2006Nov 22, 2006Sony CorporationData display method and reproduction apparatus
U.S. Classification1/1, G9B/27.021, G9B/27.019, G9B/27.051, 707/999.107
International ClassificationG06F3/033, G11B27/34, G06F3/048, G11B27/10, G11B27/11
Cooperative ClassificationY10S707/99934, Y10S707/99933, Y10S707/99943, G11B27/34, G11B2220/2545, G11B27/11, G11B27/105, G06F3/0482
European ClassificationG06F3/0482, G11B27/34, G11B27/10A1, G11B27/11