The Eclectro Last.fm lovewall is an interactive installation that uses bluetooth to scan for mobile phones. Visitors are asked to change the bluetooth name of their phone into their Last.fm username.
A laptop scans the room using the open source Roomware software. It connects to random visitors and searches the Last.fm database for similarity. It then shows the similarity on a big screen by showing the profiles. A percentage and five artists both have in common.
The installation worked well and I got a lot of very positive feedback by enthusiastic visitors. A few things I learned.
It is possible to have a zero percent match but still have artists in common.
Similar artists are often Gorillaz, U2, Muse, Air.
It is very easy to join, people see something happen and they think it’s too difficult to join. If you tell them that all it takes is changing the bluetooth name of their mobile phone they are really surprised.
Explain, explain, explain.
People like seeing their avatars on a screen. Only showing avatars would probably make a successful application by itself.
Make the screen dark. I used grey photographs and still the brightness of the beamer lightened up the entire place.
The internet connection at public places is almost always difficult (unstable/low signal).
This saturday we have the first Eclectro party in De Unie in Rotterdam (which itself is pretty amazing). It’s the first offline event for something (a group of people blogging) that until saturday does only exist online.
To Eclectrofy this evening we started thinking about doing something extra with the location. How can we make the place visually and interactive exciting as well. Without making it too difficult to use or showing computers.
What I’m making for this saturday
Basically Roomware turns my Mac into a server that is able to read bluetooth names and convert this data into xml. We will ask people at the party to change the bluetooth name of their mobile phone into the username of their Last.fm account. With these Last.fm names an application searches the Last.fm API and extracts data about two random visitors and tell them how much Last.fm similarity they have and which artists they have in common.
Meet new people
The project autorepeats and makes new random matches with names of people that are actually in the room. The results are projected on a screen. Showing public information about people is a gimmick, but it might encourage visitors to meet new people.
Things to do before this saturday
All the technology works. What’s left is finding a beamer, finishing the design and the timing of the interface. The application doesn’t need much time to load, but I’m thinking about adding finctional timing to make it more exiting to watch.
For example first show one player. Show the second player a few seconds later. And finally show the bar (hearth) that indicates the percentages. And maybe add some hidden messages when people have 0 or 100% Last.fm similarity.
Recently the Last.fm website had a redesign. With video and images more prominent presented they made the website look more visual appealing to first time visitors. More focus on music and a little less focus on people.
I’m not sure if the personalized podcast page was already available on the website before the redesign. I have never seen it before. What is great about this option is that you can subscribe to a stream of free MP3s that will be automatically delivered to your computer through the podcast-distribution-model (xml with enclosures).
A Long Tail with free things and high quality service Last.fm delivers you the music you might like based on your personal profile, and it delivers the files for free. The music delivered might be from your favorite artists or from artists you have never heard of. This is how you are able to get to know new music that is very likely to be interesting to you.
For artists the group their music is send to is a smaller group, but this group is more likely to like or love the music, and thus distributing free content this way is more cost effective.
For me this podcast is an example how you can add more value to the content through smart distribution. You discover something new, and there is less noise in discovering it.
Mujuice, electronic music from Russia
In my recommended downloads there are a few tracks by Mujuice. I don’t know Mujuice, but if I like the tracks (I probably do, since it is a recommendation) I might search for more, buy MP3s or visit their next, or first performance in the Netherlands.
For the band there probably isn’t any direct business or value, there is only the start of something new by giving something away for free, a new connection or customer relation. And as you might know, all you need are a thousand true fans.