|Publication number||US20070244880 A1|
|Application number||US 11/513,495|
|Publication date||Oct 18, 2007|
|Filing date||Aug 31, 2006|
|Priority date||Feb 3, 2006|
|Also published as||US8583671, US20090210415|
|Publication number||11513495, 513495, US 2007/0244880 A1, US 2007/244880 A1, US 20070244880 A1, US 20070244880A1, US 2007244880 A1, US 2007244880A1, US-A1-20070244880, US-A1-2007244880, US2007/0244880A1, US2007/244880A1, US20070244880 A1, US20070244880A1, US2007244880 A1, US2007244880A1|
|Inventors||Francisco Martin, Marc Torrens, Rick Hangartner, Guillermo Caudevilla-Laliena, David Bartolome, Craig Rowley|
|Original Assignee||Francisco Martin, Marc Torrens, Rick Hangartner, Guillermo Caudevilla-Laliena, Bartolome David D S, Craig Rowley|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (50), Classifications (19), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 11/346,818 filed Feb. 3, 2006 and titled “Recommender System for Identifying a New Set of Media Items Responsive to an Input Set of Media Items and Knowledge Base Metrics.” This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/772,502 filed Feb. 10, 2006, and titled “System and Method for Building and Sharing a Composite Playlist from Collective Group Tastes on Multiple Media Playback Devices.” This application also claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/774,072 filed Feb. 15, 2006, and titled “Mediaset Recommendations for a Group of Users.” This application also claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/796,724 filed May 1, 2006, and titled “Dynamically Building Composite Playlist for Merging Collective User Tastes.” Each of the foregoing applications is incorporated herein by specific reference.
Understanding that drawings depict only certain preferred embodiments of the invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope, the preferred embodiments will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:
In the following description, certain specific details of programming, software modules, user selections, network transactions, database queries, database structures, etc., are provided for a thorough understanding of the specific preferred embodiments of the invention. However, those skilled in the art will recognize that embodiments can be practiced without one or more of the specific details, or with other methods, components, materials, etc.
In some cases, well-known structures, materials, or operations are not shown or described in detail in order to avoid obscuring aspects of the preferred embodiments. Furthermore, the described features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in a variety of alternative embodiments. In some embodiments, the methodologies and systems described herein may be carried out using one or more digital processors, such as the types of microprocessors that are commonly found in PC's, laptops, PDA's and all manner of other desktop or portable electronic appliances.
Disclosed are embodiments of systems, methods, and apparatus for generating mediasets comprising a plurality of media data items. As used herein, the term “media data item” is intended to encompass any media item or representation of a media item. A “media item” is intended to encompass any type of media file which can be represented in a digital media format, such as a song, movie, picture, e-book, game, etc. Thus, it is intended that the term “media data item” encompass, for example, playable media item files (e.g., an MP3 file), as well as metadata that identifies a playable media file (e.g., metadata that identifies an MP3 file). It should therefore be apparent that in any embodiment providing a process, step, or system using “media items,” that process, step, or system may instead use a representation of a media item (such as metadata), and vice versa.
In one embodiment, a system to provide recommendations of mediasets for a given group of users is provided. Embodiments of such a system may comprise a mechanism to store playlists and/or playcounts of each member in a community of users. Playlists and playcounts may be used to define the taste of each user and may therefore be used in performing taste analyses for each of the respective users.
In accordance with the general principles set forth above, embodiments of the invention may be used to address the problem of recommending a mediaset or group playlist to a group of users in a community or network. In some embodiments, a mediaset recommender may be provided where the input is a set of media items, and the output is a mediaset of weighted media items. Two illustrative methods for providing group recommendations of mediasets include: 1) building a common profile that expresses the taste of the group of users as a whole and applying that profile to the recommender; and 2) considering individual recommendations of each member taste, and aggregating the results.
Media players are typically capable of reproducing all types of media items and collecting playcounts and playlists. Playcounts are the number of times a media item has been played in the media player. Playlists are groupings of media items that users create to organize their libraries of media items. A system (e.g., a server) may be used to collect playcounts and playlists of media items of a community of users.
Playcounts and playlists of a user may be used to synthesize her or his taste or perform a taste analysis. In that sense, user's taste may be considered a collection of the most relevant taste data considering that user's playcounts and playlists.
The task of certain embodiments of this system is to recommend a mediaset for a group of users. A mediaset recommendation for a group of users may be the result of an aggregation process of the different mediasets that are recommended to each user of the group. Thus, some embodiments of this system may include a component that recommends a mediaset from another mediaset (by performing an analysis of the taste of each user, for example). The aggregation process may apply, for example, a voting schema and/or an optimization schema.
Mediaset recommendations for a group of users may be useful in a variety of scenarios. An example is a party where a group of people want to enjoy music together. Instead of playing the music that may be recommended to a particular individual in the group, it may be desirable to play the music that would be recommended to the group as a whole.
As such, in certain embodiments, the system's task is to find a mediaset or playlist to be recommended to a group of users. In embodiments wherein the system is collecting playcounts and/or playlists from the users, such a recommender system may be composed of three main steps:
It should be understood that numerous variations on the content, scope, and order of these steps are contemplated. For example, the step of producing recommended mediasets for each user taste may be optional.
Process 106 may comprise a ranking process of the media items of a user where items with higher playcounts, more recent plays, and/or more playlist appearances get a higher ranking. The process may select the top m ranked media items as the encoding of the user's taste 108. Note that this process may produce different results over time for the same user. This may be a desirable feature in embodiments in which the goal is to encode the taste of a user as it evolves over time.
In some embodiments, the system may provide individual mediaset recommendations. For example, with reference to
In some embodiments, the system may also provide for aggregating individual recommended media sets into a group recommended mediaset or group playlist. For example, with reference to
The aggregation step may be performed, for example, by following different approaches that serve different goals. As previously mentioned, in two preferred embodiments, the system may follow a) a voting schema; or b) an optimization schema. A voting schema may serve the goal of finding a mediaset that the majority of users would be happy with, without considering the degree of dislike by the rest of the members of the group. On the other hand, an optimization schema may produce a mediaset that minimizes the dislike (or maximizes the like) of all the members of the group. In order to apply an optimization schema, the media items in the n recommended mediasets 302, 306, 310 may each be linked with an associated weight. The weight of a media item in a mediaset for a user may be used to indicate the relevance of that media item for the user.
With a voting schema, the aggregation process may take the p media items that appear the most in the n mediasets. If there are items that appear the same number of times in the n mediasets (tie-break), then those items may be picked randomly.
Some recommender engines may produce mediasets having weighted media items. In such embodiments, when a tie-break situation happens, instead of picking the items randomly, the process may pick the media items with highest weights. For example, considering the following mediasets:
Thus, the media items for the recommended group mediaset would be selected in the following order: s3, s4, s7, s10, s2, s8. Media items s7 and s10 are in a tie-break situation, so they could be ordered in accordance with their respective weights within their mediasets, if any. If the media items do not have associated weights, then the order of s7 and s10 may be randomized. The same would apply for items s2 and s8.
With an aggregation schema, the aggregation process may take the p media items that optimize some utility function considering all the users of the group, that is, considering all n mediasets 302, 306, 310. In order to apply the optimization schema, the media items in the n mediasets 302, 306, 310 may have an associated weight, for example, in the range from 0 to 1, where 0 means that the item is not relevant at all and 1 means that the item is the most relevant. For a given mediaset j, a media item i may therefore have a weight w(j,i). If a media item i is not in a mediaset j, then it may be considered to have a weight 0. The following example illustrates the weights associated with media items for a collection of mediasets:
A number of different utility functions may be chosen in order to aggregate the media items. For example, a utility function may be selected to maximize the sum for all p selected items of the highest weight in any of the n mediasets. If it is desired to select p=3 items in accordance with this utility function, s10, s4, and s3 would be selected. The sum of the highest weights for these items is 0.9+0.8+0.5=2.2, which is the maximum we can get with the above example.
Alternatively, a utility function may be selected to maximize the sum for all p selected items of the lowest weight in any of the n mediasets. If it is desired to select p=3 items in accordance with this utility function, s10, s7, and s3 would be selected. The sum of the lowest weights for these items is 0.5+0.3+0.1=0.9, which is the maximum we can get with the above example.
As still another alternative, a utility function may be selected to maximize the sum for all p selected items of the mean weight of all of the n mediasets. If it is desired to select p=3 items in accordance with this utility function, s10, s4, and s7 would be selected. The sum of the average of weights for these items is 2.3/3+1.2/3+0.9/3=1.16, which is the maximum we can get with the above example. Of course, other utility functions may be employed, as will be apparent to one having ordinary skill in the art.
A recommender engine may be provided in some embodiments. In embodiments that do not include a recommender engine, the mediasets that encode the user tastes may be directly aggregated to form the mediaset that would be recommended to the whole group of users.
A system using the recommender engine may propose mediasets to discover new music, whereas a system that does not provide a recommender engine may propose mediasets with media items already known by at least one of the users in the group.
As should be apparent, the aforementioned systems and methods may produce mediaset recommendations for a group of n users so as to enable proposing a mediaset that can be enjoyed simultaneously by a group of users. The system may analyze user tastes from playlists and/or playcounts, so as to allow the user tastes to be represented as mediasets. These n user tastes can be then the input of a recommender engine that may suggest another n mediasets. An aggregation process that takes these mediasets and produces a single group mediaset may also be provided. Such a process can be done using, for example, a voting schema or an optimization schema. Similar systems may operate without a recommender engine. In such embodiments, the aggregation process may operate with the mediasets that represent the tastes of the n users, and the result may comprise a mediaset that can be recommended to the whole group of users.
Additional embodiments are disclosed and described with reference to
Those skilled in the art will recognize that systems incorporating the features of one or more of the above-described embodiments may be realized as a collection of media devices whose design embodies the disclosed functional behavior, as a collection of layered protocols in the 7-level ISO Open Systems Interconnection Reference Model, or as an application task in media devices communicating using standard networking protocols.
Some preferred implementations will consist of three major components. The first component is a plurality of Session Managers which collectively coordinate the information needed to designate and manage the status of each media player with regard to a plurality of other media player devices engaged in a period of collaborative activity referred to as a “session”. In a preferred implementation, one Session Manager may be associated with each media player device, although this need not be the case in all implementations. The Session Managers may include means for verifying the eligibility of each device to join the session. This may be accomplished by virtue of the eligible users being subscribed to a service, which may provide legal access to the media items to be collectively enjoyed.
The second component of the aforementioned implementation is a Playlist Builder, which may reside, for example, on one of the media players, on a server, on a network access controller included in the system, or on a third-party server accessible to the media player devices through a communication network. The Playlist Builder may use information, such as taste data, available about the users in the group, and the collective set of media items available to the media players, to build a group playlist compatible with the collective tastes of the group.
The third component of the aforementioned implementation is a plurality of Playlist Managers, one associated with each media player device, which collectively communicate with the Playlist Builder to provide the information needed to build the group playlist and to play the media items on the group playlist. The Playlist Manager associated with each media player device may include functionality for communicating the availability of media items on the media player device, either in a local library or from a media streaming service accessible by a media player, for example. The Playlist Manager may also include a Playlist Play subcomponent, which may work in coordination with the counterpart subcomponents on the other media players in the session to step through each item on the group playlist, and may be configured to cause the media player associated with a media item to stream it to one or more of the other players as each media item is encountered.
With reference again to the drawings, further aspects of certain embodiments will now be described in greater detail. Two such alternative embodiments are shown in
The key components of a client-server embodiment 400 are the server functional unit 402 and one or more Media Player Device clients 404. The server 402 may include three basic functional components: 1) A Session Access Controller 408, which may be used to grant permission for an individual media player to join the collaborative interaction between devices; 2) A Playlist Builder 410, may be used to construct the list and sequence of media items to be played in the group playlist during the session; and 3) A Device Manager 406 for each Media Player Device 404 in the session, which may be used to control the session-related functions of the device.
The peer-to-peer embodiment 500, as shown in
The device manager for each media player device may include a session manager and a playlist manager. For example,
Playlist manager 606 may be configured to communicate with a playlist builder to send the media item data of the media device with which it is associated to the playlist builder and to play the media data items on the composite playlist on the media device with which it is associated.
As shown in
The session access controller 408, 508 may interact, as described in greater detail later, with the session manager 604 in the device manager 602 of each media device 404 in a system to define the set of media devices comprising a session, and to enable communications between them. Similarly, the playlist builder 410, 510 may operate with the playlist manager 606 in the device manager 602 to define and perform a sequence of media items in a session.
The session manager 604 may assume the presence of a single session access controller 408 on a server system 402 in the client-server configuration, or on a privileged peer-to-peer network access system 502 in the peer-to-peer configuration. In peer-to-peer embodiments, the network access system could be implemented on the system found in some peer-to-peer networks, which hosts network-level functions, while in other embodiments it could be implemented on one peer system in the network.
The session access controller's primary function in some embodiments is to serve a session sID code in response to a “request-to-enter” session message from devices seeking admission into a session as an indication permission has been granted to the device. In some embodiments, that permission may be granted if the media player mID code from the device supplied with the “request-to-enter” message is recognized as an mID eligible for admission to a session. In other embodiments, the session access controller may instead supply a dynamic mID back to the requesting media player device to serve as a unique identifier for the device in the context of the session along with the returned session sID code. In some embodiments, the session access controller may largely be functional in the networking protocol for the underlying communications network linking the media player devices, and the mID and sID may be codes derived from parameters in the network protocol that identify devices and communication sessions or transactions.
The session manager may include two major subfunctions 802 and 806, as shown in
The starting step for the session manager flow diagram of
If an “enter-session-sID” response message is not received, the session manager waits a random amount of time before transmitting another “request-to-enter” message. In some embodiments, the session manager may just wait a random amount of time after transmitting a “request-to-enter” message before transmitting another “request-to-enter” message if an “enter-session-sID” response is not received. In other embodiments, the session manager may wait a fixed amount of time after sending the “request-to-enter” message and then, if no “enter-session-sID” response is received, wait a random amount of time before transmitting the next “request-to-enter” message. In yet other embodiments, the session manager may wait until some external event occurs after sending the “request-to-enter” message, rather than receiving an “enter-session-sID”, and then wait a random amount of time before transmitting the next “request-to-enter” message.
Upon receipt of an “enter-session-sID” response from the session access controller, the session manager broadcasts the “in-session-mId-mId-status-sID” message, as indicated at 804. By broadcasting this message, the session manager indicates its presence in the session to the session managers in all of the other devices in the session. The parameters of this message (mID, mID, status, sID), are the mID of this media player device, the mID of another media player device in the session that knows about this device by proxy (set here to the mID of this media player device because no proxy is involved), the status of the playlist manager component 606 of the device manager 602, and the session sID.
After broadcasting the “in-session-mId-mId-status-sID” message, the session manager initiates the subfunction 806, which maintains knowledge of the other media players in the session identified by a particular sID. Subfunction 806 is a polling loop that maintains the information in a session manager state data structure, such as that shown in
The polling loop in Subfunction 806 may be executed a number of times “n” as determined by the implementation. This number is relatively arbitrary, and typically is selected to achieve a desired “liveliness” criteria for the session manager and the session maintenance protocol. “Liveliness” here refers to how often the subject media player indicates its presence in the session to the other media players in the session. As the flow diagram indicates at 804, the session manager may broadcast an “in-session-mid-mid-status-sid” message to the other media players to indicate the subject media player is still active in the session and make its status known to those media players if the session manager state data table 702 includes entries for other media players. If the session manager state data table 702 is empty, the session manager may instead revert to searching for a session to join by initiating the session join subfunction 802.
Subfunction 806 may maintain knowledge of the other media players in the session by repetitively executing the three processes 810, 812, and 814 shown in FIG, 8, each of which are shown in greater detail in
Describing each of the processes 810, 812, and 814 in turn, the “Prune Session Members” process 810 (
1) The entry is removed if the time[i] that the media player was last affirmatively known to the subject media player exceeds an implementation specified timeout value. A “proxy-session-mID-sID” query is then broadcast to request if the media player corresponding to the removed entry is still known to another media player in the session.
2) A “proxy-session-mID-sID” query is broadcast to request if the media player is still known to another media player in the session, and the media player entry status has been marked as “cued” (meaning that the media player was scheduled to perform a track by the Playlist Manager process described below), and if one of the two following conditions exist: a) If the time[i] that the media player was last affirmatively known to the subject media player exceeds an implementation specified cued timeout value, meaning that the subject media player did not receive an indication that the media player corresponding to the entry transmitted a state change out of the cued state; b) If the time[i] that the media player was last affirmatively known to the subject media player does not exceed an implementation specified cued timeout value, but the media player corresponding to the entry is only known to the subject media by proxy via another media player in the session. In this case, the subject media player would only learn of a state change by the media player corresponding to the entry if that state change is broadcast by the proxy media player in response to the “proxy-session-mID-sID” query.
3) Nothing is done to the entry for the media player in the event neither of the above conditions apply.
The “Update Session Members” process 812 (
1) An entry corresponding to the media player with the mID of the message is added to the Session Manager state data structure if no entry with mID as the ID already exists.
2) If the mID and the pmlD of the message match, implying that this message was transmitted by a media player that is now directly known to the subject media player, the entry in the data table for the media player with mID is updated with the status from the message. The time since the media player with mID was last affirmatively known to the subject media player may be reset to 0 seconds.
3) The entry in the data table for the media player with mID may be updated with the proxy media player pmID and the status from the received “in-session-mID-pmID-status-sID” message if several conditions apply simultaneously: a) the received message is a proxy message (miID, pmID differ); b) the media player referenced by the message is currently known to the subject media by proxy (mID, pmID for the entry in the Session Manager state data structure differ) or the time since the media player with mID was last affirmatively known to the subject media player has exceeded an implementation timeout value; and c) the status of the referenced media player is unknown or the status in the message is idle. The time since the media player with mID was last affirmatively known to the subject media player may be reset to 0 seconds.
4) The entry in the data table for the media player with mID may be updated with just the proxy media player pmID from the received “in-session-mID-pmID-status-sID” message if several conditions apply simultaneously: a) the received message is a proxy message (miID, pmID differ); b) the media player referenced by the message is currently only known to the subject media by proxy (mID, pmID for the entry in the Session Manager state data structure differ) or the time since the media player with mID was last affirmatively known to the subject media player has exceeded an implementation timeout value; and c) the status of the referenced media player is known and the status in the message is not idle. The time since the media player with mID was last affirmatively known to the subject media player may be reset to 0 seconds.
5) Nothing is done if the received “in-session-mID-pmID-status-sID” is a proxy message (miID, pmID differ), the media player referenced by the message is currently known to the subject media player (mID, pmID for the entry in the session manager state data structure match), and the time since the referenced media play was last affirmatively known to the subject media player does not exceed an implementation-defined timeout value.
The “Service Proxy Request” process 814 (
1) An “in session-mID-pmID-status-sID” message is broadcast, where pmID=mID and the status is that of the subject media player, if the subject media player corresponds to the mID of the request.
2) An “in session-mID-pmID-status-sID” message is broadcast, where pmID=mID, and the mID and status parameters are those in the session manager state data structure 702 for the media player referenced by the query, if the media player mID of the query is known affirmatively to the subject media player (mID of the query and pmID in the state manager state data structure match).
3) An “in session-mID-pmID-status-sID” message is broadcast, where the pmID and status parameters are those in the session manager state data structure 702 for the media player referenced by the query, if the media player mID of the query is only known to the subject media player by proxy (mID of the query and pmID in the State Manager state data structure differ).
4) Nothing is broadcast if the “proxy-session-mID-sID” message does not reference the subject media player or a media player in the Session Manager state data structure 402 known to the subject media player.
The Playlist Manager of an individual media player device may consist of two major subfunctions: First, the “Playlist Queue Updater” process 1300, as depicted in
The Playlist Manager 1200 (
The Playlist Manager 1200 also assumes that the media player makes available several data items relevant to the playlist building process depicted conceptually in
After any user request that a specific media item be added to the playlist has been processed, the “Playlist Queue Updater” then checks if a “have-iID-sID” request message has been received from the Playlist Builder inquiring whether the subject media player can provide a specific media item for the playlist. The process assumes that the protocol of the network over which the media players communicate buffers all “have-iiD-sID” request messages until they can be processed. Each received message in which the message sID matches the ID of the session may be processed in one of three following ways:
1) A “have-iID-pID-length-sid” message is broadcast if the subject media player pID has access to the requested media item iiD with length “length” from a local library of media items.
2) A “have-iID-pID-length-sid” message is broadcast if the subject media player pID does not have access to the requested media item iiD with length “length” from a local library of media items, but does have access to the requested media item from a remote service.
3) No response is broadcast if the media player does not have access to the requested media item.
In some embodiments, the “Playlist Queue Updater” may take into account the user's preferences with regard to media items, as indicated by the lists 1512, 1514, and 1516 in determining whether to supply a “have-iID-pID-length-sid” message in response to a “have-iID-sID” request message. For example, the “Playlist Queue Updater” may not respond to the “have-iID-sID” message even if the requested item is in the catalog 1504 or 1506 of the device if it is also on the “no play” list 1512. Similarly, the “Playlist Queue Updater” may respond optionally according to some statistical or other criteria if the item is on the “preferred” list 1514. And the “Playlist Queue Updater” may always respond if the item is on the “must play” list 1514.
The last step in an iteration of the “Playlist Queue Updater” flow diagram processes at least one “queue-iID-pID-length-sID” message from the Playlist Builder, if any have been received. The process assumes that the protocol of the network over which the media players communicate buffers all “queue-iID-pID-length-sID” messages until they can be processed. In some embodiments, the “Playlist Queue Updater” may process only a single “queue-iID-pID-length-sID” message per iteration by adding an entry to the Playlist Queue data structure in the Playlist Manager, consisting of the iID, length, and pID items from the message. In other embodiments, it may process multiple or all pending “queue-iID-pID-length-sID” messages.
In one embodiment, performance of the playlist is, in effect, directed by the Playlist Builder. As described later, the Playlist Builder may broadcast a “queue-iId-pID-length-sid” message to all the media players in the session requesting that media item be added to the Playlist Queue data structure 1202 in the Playlist Manager 1200. The Playlist Builder sends this message at the actual time the media item should be performed and the media player accepts that message as a command to perform the specified media item. In a variant of this embodiment, the Playlist Builder may send this message just sufficiently before the time the media item should be performed to allow the media item to perform any processing required to initiate the performance by the time the performance is to start.
In another embodiment, the “Playlist Play Sequencer” process 1400 of the Playlist Manager 1200 shown in
The “Playlist Play Sequencer” 1400 may be an iterative process which achieves the synchronized performance in the presence of gaps by processing the item at the head of the Playlist Queue 1202 in, for example, one of the three following ways:
1) If the pID of the media item at the head of the queue is not the pID of the subject media player, corresponding to the left branch of the flow diagram, the “Playlist Play Sequencer” essentially just idles, monitoring the status of the media player with mID=pID in the Session Members state data structure 702 until it is inferred that the media item has been performed. The subject media player infers the media item has been performed when either a transition from played to idle is observed, or the value of the local playtime timer exceeds the performance length of the media item.
2) If the pID of the media item at the head of the queue is the pID of the subject media player, and the Session Members state data structure 702 does not include an entry for another media player with the status value playing, corresponding to the middle branch of the flow diagram, the “Playlist Play Sequencer” plays the media item. The status of the subject media player is set to playing while the item is being performed, and then set back to idle after the performance is finished to signal the performance to the other media players in the session.
3) If the pID of the media item at the head of the queue is the pID of the subject media player, but the Session Members state data structure 702 includes an entry for another media player with the status value playing, corresponding to the right branch of the flow diagram, the performance of the media item is postponed. The “Playlist Play Sequencer” repeatedly traverses this branch of the flow diagram until no other media player has the status value cued, and then sets the status value for the subject media player to cued. On the next iteration the “Playlist Play Sequencer” takes the middle branch of the flow diagram and performs the media item as described above.
As previously described, the Playlist Manager of the Device Manager in each media player device may assume the existence of an autonomous Playlist Builder on the server system in the client-server configuration, or on a privileged peer-to-peer network access system in the peer-to-peer configuration. In peer-to-peer embodiments, the playlist builder could be implemented on the system found in some peer-to-peer networks which hostsnetwork-level functions, while in other embodiments it could be implemented on one peer system in the network.
The “Playlist Builder” may be an iterative process that adds a single media item to the playlist per iteration. Each iteration may include three steps:
1) A candidate media item with ciID is generated based on information in the knowledge base 1604 and/or other criteria. A “who-has-ciID-sID” query is broadcast to all of the media players in the session to determine if any of them has access to the proposed media item.
2) If the Playlist Queue Manager of any of the media players in the session has previously broadcast an unprocessed “force-iID-pID-length-sID” message, the requested media item iID is added to the playlist 2108. The Playlist Builder may broadcast a “queue-iID-pID-length-sID” message to all of the media players in the session, directing that they each add the requested media item to their local playlist that their Playlist Queue Manager is maintaining.
3) After an implementation-determined delay, a determination is made if the Playlist Queue Manager of any of the media players in the session has broadcast an unprocessed “have-iID-pID-length-sID” response message, indicating that a media player in the session has access to the requested media item iID. As one or more of the media players may have access to the requested item, one of those media players is selected either at random, or according to some other criteria, as the media player that will perform that media item and the item is added to the playlist. The Playlist Builder may then broadcast a “queue-iID-pID-length-sID” message to all of the media players in the session directing that they each add the requested media item to their local playlist maintained by their Playlist Queue Manager 1100.
The process assumes that the protocol of the network over which the media players communicate buffers all “force-iID-pID-length-sID” request messages and “have-iID-pID-length-sID” until they can be processed. In any particular embodiment, one or more of each type of message may be processed per iteration. In addition, as the flow diagram indicates, steps 2) and 3) may be repeated a number of times limited by a timeout value to increase the responsiveness of the communications between the Playlist Builder and the media player devices.
The Playlist Builder iterations may be repeated ad infinitum. The playlist is a non-terminating sequence of media items to be performed so long as there is at least one media player in the session. Furthermore, some embodiments may support building playlists consisting solely of media items suggested by users of the media devices, and communicated to the Playlist Builder with the “force-iID-pID-length-sID” request message, by providing an option for setting a option flag to “false” so that the “auto build?” tests in the flow diagram fail.
Still other implementations are disclosed and described with reference to
Some embodiments therefore relate to methods for dynamically creating a playlist of media items responsive to the collective tastes of a temporally-defined group of individuals. Some embodiments also provide for dynamically diversifying the group playlist so that it does not in whole, or in part, unduly reflect the taste of a single member of the group, or a particular subgroup of users within the whole group.
Additional embodiments may provide for a system and method for dynamically building a playlist of media items by using the collective taste preferences of the members of a group to determine compositional goals of the playlist, and then building a group playlist that achieves those compositional goals. The system may derive the compositional goals by analyzing the taste preferences of the current members of the group. Media items available to achieve those goals are typically a subset of the media items that are identified in response to analyzing taste data and may be selected from a collection of media items available to the system. The collection of available media items may be the aggregate of the sub-collections of media items provided by the users or, alternatively, may be a pre-existing set of media items stored, for example, in a central database.
In a preferred implementation of the system, three primary processes are provided. The first process keeps track of users as they enter and/or leave the group by starting or ending communications with the system using, for example, individual networked communication devices. Example embodiments include Bluetooth® devices and other devices communicating in an ad-hoc network of Internet or other network-connected devices using, for example, the Apple Bonjour protocol. Users with individual communication devices may be added to and/or removed from the group by the system as they implicitly or explicitly connect and disconnect from the communication network, which links the individual devices to the computational means for building the group playlist.
As a user enters the group, the system may retrieve the user's taste data. Taste data may be retrieved by, for example, accessing a database of taste data from users known to the system or by requesting taste data directly from the users' communication devices and adding it to the pool of taste data for the group. As a user leaves the group, the system may also be configured to remove that user's taste data from the pool of taste data for the group. In some embodiments in which the media items available for inclusion in a playlist are provided by users and not centrally maintained by the system, the system may maintain a pool of media items available for the current group.
Using the pool of taste data for the group, and the pool of media items available for inclusion on a playlist, the first process may derive compositional goals for the playlist, such as requiring that the values for the selected media items of a specific attribute have a specified distribution. In some embodiments, the first process may also involve selecting a subset of media items from the total pool of media items to be used to build the playlist. This may be accomplished using a media item recommender, such as that described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/346,818 titled “Recommender System for Identifying a New Set of Media Items Responsive to an Input Set of Media Items and Knowledge Base Metrics,” which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The aforementioned media item recommender may be used to recommend media items responsive to an input set of media items.
The second process may build the composite playlist by selecting media items from the total pool of media items in a manner which causes the evolving playlist to more closely approximate the specified compositional goal as the selected items are added to the playlist. Some implementations of the system may therefore be responsive to the constantly changing group membership. In particular, as users in the group continuously enter and leave the group, the compositional goals and/or the pool of media items available to achieve those goals may continually change. Some embodiments may remove media items from the dynamic playlist as users depart from the group, particularly in those situations where the group members actually contribute the media items to the pool. In such situations, the media items in the pool could be removed from the pool as users leave, such as by physically leaving a proximity or by logging out of a system. It should be understood, however, that such a feature is not necessary in all implementations, since a media item can be skipped if it is no longer available when it is to be performed.
The third process may involve diversifying the group playlist. The diversification process may involve shuffling media items on the list as necessary to ensure that no segment of the playlist is dominated by media items representative of the taste of one or more group members. In some embodiments, additional information about aesthetic properties of the media items might be used to rearrange the order of the media items in the group playlist to achieve specific aesthetic goals. Finally, in cases where there are few users, and therefore for each user the playlist includes a large number of items responsive to the taste of just that user, some embodiments may replace some media items with additional media items. These additional or supplemental media items may not be provided by any of the members in the group, and may be selected according to a diversifying criteria to bring more variety to the group playlist.
One embodiment of the system may implement the processes detailed in
In describing the embodiment of
In order for the system to “narrowcast” (i.e., to target content to a specific set of users) a playlist for proximal users, a mechanism may be provided to allows for discovery/detection of proximal users. In one embodiment, a server process 2400 (as shown in
In step 1 of one implementation of a Bluetooth® user addition process, a Bluetooth® server with a predetermined service UUID (Universally Unique Identifier) is provided. The Bluetooth® specification uses UUIDs to identify services uniquely across many devices. By using a UUID, a Bluetooth® client is able to detect a specific service on a remote server.
In step 2, once a client Bluetooth® process has connected with the system's Bluetooth® server 2400, the client transmits user information to the server process 2400, as shown in
In order to provide real-time narrowcasted playlist content, the system preferably updates and maintains the contents of the proximal user list 2503 and proximal device list 2504 on a regular basis. At the same time, the system may be configured to reduce the chance that users are erroneously moved from either list. These concerns may be addressed by using a User/Device Proximity Detection Process 2600, as shown in
After a user has been discovered to no longer be proximal, a User/Device Inactivity Detection Process 2601 may be used to begin considering whether a user should be removed from the proximal user list 2503 and the user's device removed from the proximal device list 2504. The User Device User/Device Inactivity Detection Process 2601 may be implemented as a time-based process. The system may be configured to remember the time when a user first became classified as non-proximal. Then, for example, if a specific time limit has been reached and the non-proximal user is identified as still being non-proximal, the user may be removed from the proximal user list 2503, along with the user's device from the proximal device list 2504, by the User/Device Removal Process 2602. If a user is found to be proximal by the User/Device Proximity Detection Process 2600 before the time limit of the User/Device Inactivity Detection Process 2601 is reached, then the user and their device will be left on the appropriate lists 2503/2504. It will be apparent to one skilled in the art that specific implementations of the aforementioned system may, but need not, rely on the use of Bluetooth® or a time-based user removal strategy.
The Composite Playlist Builder process may rely on the User Addition/Removal processes described above in order to determine which users to which a playlist is to be narrowcasted. In one implementation, the Composite Playlist Builder process may first generate a list of media items that define a user taste, and then repeat this step for all proximal users in the system.
As shown in
The data in one embodiment may be cached to enable quick lookup. As will be demonstrated in other steps, the data which represents user taste may also provide the foundation from which other steps derive information. In some embodiments, user taste may be synthesized by first obtaining a set of the tracks that a user has listened to recently and/or those that a user has ranked highest. Of course, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that there are many different ways to synthesize user taste based on collected user taste data.
As a second process of one implementation, aggregate playlist goals may be computed based on results of the first process and/or on a list of desired categories. Note that there will be typically be one set of input media data items for each user.
In order to compute aggregate playlist goals, each set of media items and/or metadata that indicates user taste 1900, and/or a predetermined or computed set of categories of interest 1901, may be used as input to a User Taste Aggregation Process 1902, as shown in
One embodiment uses a category set 1901 that comprises a genre. Such a system may compute the frequency distribution of genres in the play histories retrieved for each connected user. The percentage of each genre may then be used as the optimal genre distribution for the generated group playlist. Of course, a genre is not the only category which could be used for generating a playlist. It should also be understood that a raw frequency distribution is not the only method for computing statistics about any given category. Other similar implementations are not limited to, but could employ, a weighting strategy or voting strategy to determine desired levels of each feature.
After the aggregate playlist goals have been computed, relevant media items for a user may be selected from the pool of available media items. This process may then be repeated for each proximal user in the system.
For example, in
In one embodiment, process 2001 may be implemented by using a media item recommender, such as those described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/346,818 titled “Recommender System for Identifying a New Set of Media Items Responsive to an Input Set of Media Items and Knowledge Base Metrics,” which was previously incorporated by reference. Process 2001 may also be augmented by providing the media item recommender with the complete scope of recommended media items from which to recommend a subset of media items. In practice, this may be used to make sure that the recommended media items are available for use by the composite playlist builder application. For example, if there are one-thousand available media items 2000 to choose from, process 2001 may ensure that the relevant media items 2002 are within the one-thousand available media items 2000. This is analogous to a jukebox that has a limited set of media from which to produce a playlist. It should be apparent that the media items available to process 2001 do not need to be resident on the same machine that is executing process 2001. Any media item which is programmatically obtainable via any protocol may be considered an available media item.
After the relevant media items for each user have been selected from the pool of available media items, the media items may be categorized according to a set of desired attributes. For example, as shown in
After the media items have been categorized according to a set of desired attributes, the status of the current group playlist's achievement of goals may be assessed/computed. For example, with reference to
In one embodiment, a frequency distribution of genres may be computed for the categorization process. The goal assessment process may comprise subtracting the achieved genre percentages for the current playlist from the target percentages for the optimal playlist. It can then take the largest value difference as the needed upcoming genre for the playlist. Of course, a variety of other approaches can be used for computing playlist needs.
After the status of the current group playlist's achievement of goals has been assessed/computed, a set of tracks may be selected to add to the group playlist based on assessing current needs for the playlist according to the goal achievement assessment process previously performed. For example, with reference to
The selected media item may also be subjected to a diversification step, which may be used to ensure that the media items being added to the playlist are not too similar to the current playlist contents. In some embodiments, the diversification step may comprise shuffling media items in the group playlist to diversify at least one segment of the group playlist that includes media data items that are overly representative of the tastes of one or more users. The system may be configured such that, in response to determining that the group playlist is dominated by media items representative of the taste of one or more users, removing at least one media data item from the group playlist that corresponds with the taste of the one or more users.
In some embodiments, in order for a media item to be selected and added to the current playlist 2200, it must pass through the diversification process (unless the diversification process eliminates all media items in the pool). Once a sufficient set of media items have been selected, the set of media items 2301 may be sent to a playlist addition process 2302 for addition to the active playlist. The playlist addition process 2302 may have the capability of creating/updating the current playlist 2200 and, in some implementations, initiating playing the media items in the current playlist 2200.
In one embodiment, a media item may be selected from the most needed genre for the current playlist by choosing at random from relevant tracks categorized in the appropriate genre. The diversification step may be used to ensure that no media item is repeated in the group playlist for a predetermined period of time. In other embodiments, the diversification step may also, or alternatively, be used to ensure that no subset of media items—such as artists, albums, genres, etc.—are repeated within a given subset of the group playlist. For example, the diversification step may be used to prevent media items from a particular artist from being repeated within a seven track window within the group playlist. If it is impossible to fulfill the requirements of the diversification process, then a media item may be chosen at random from all media items within the appropriate genre. If multiple genres are identified with equal priority, then the selected media item may be selected from any one of the identified genres, or by some other tie-breaking selection procedure.
The above description fully discloses the invention including preferred embodiments thereof. Without further elaboration, it is believed that one skilled in the art can use the preceding description to utilize the invention to its fullest extent. Therefore the examples and embodiments disclosed herein are to be construed as merely illustrative and not a limitation of the scope of the present invention in any way.
It will be obvious to those having skill in the art that many changes may be made to the details of the above—described embodiments without departing from the underlying principles of the invention. Therefore, it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the specific embodiments disclosed and that modifications and other embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the appended claims. For example, one of ordinary skill in the art will understand various aspects of the embodiments disclosed herein could be used in any system for building and sharing a composite playlist from collective group tastes on multiple media playback devices.
The scope of the present invention should, therefore, be determined only by the following claims.
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|Oct 25, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: MYSTRANDS, INC.,OREGON
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