Emphasizing the Uniqueness of Groups

Wednesday, 27 February 2008
by norman
filed under Lunch Table and Announcements
Comments: 24

Last.fm groups are a great way to find people that share common interests not necessarily related to music, such as ear-chopped-off painter fans, car enthusiasts, and people that clearly like meticulous descriptions of their behaviour.

Group aficionados have probably already noticed that it’s possible to listen to group radio, but unfortunately this has sometimes been a disappointing experience. The reason is simple: the playlist was generated by averaging the tastes of the group members, and this can result in predictable charts.

We have recently been experimenting with ways to emphasize what makes groups unique. By considering the average listener’s behaviour, we can show that members of the Saxophonists group listen to far more Sonny Rollins than others. Even though they listen to The Beatles a lot, it’s less special, because everyone listens to them a lot!

So, next time you tune into group radio, expect a much better experience!

Here’s a new list of artists you’re likely to listen to on these group radio stations:

Soundtrack geeks

People with no social lives, etc..



  1. Jelle
    27 February, 10:49

    Wow, that’s super! :)

    Jelle – 27 February, 10:49
  2. candice
    27 February, 11:10

    starting when?

    candice – 27 February, 11:10
  3. Norman Casagrande
    27 February, 11:15

    @candice: yesterday! ;-)

    Norman Casagrande – 27 February, 11:15
  4. Nectar_Card
    27 February, 12:01

    Can you provide a little bit further info on how this works?

    Not all groups are formed around one artist or one genre.

    What if a group is aiming for a diverse and non-mainstream group radio? (eg the 1 percenters .) Will this reduce diversity?

    Nectar_Card – 27 February, 12:01
  5. Norman Casagrande
    27 February, 12:09

    @Nectar: Well, basically it computes an “average user”, then it removes it from group profile. The result is in no way centered around an artist, genre or style, but on the users of that particular group. If they listen to mainstream stuff, the chart will likely not change.

    I.e. the 1 percenters now have “A Tribe Called Quest”, “John Coltrane” and “Ornette Coleman” as their top artists.

    Norman Casagrande – 27 February, 12:09
  6. heavyraptor
    27 February, 12:39

    Nice, I like the result of the Switzerland group :D. Those are really the typical swiss bands people listen here :D … altough I don’t like them at all.

    heavyraptor – 27 February, 12:39
  7. Nectar_Card
    27 February, 12:59

    thanks! this is very cool. There’s now a whole bunch of group radios to rediscover.

    Nectar_Card – 27 February, 12:59
  8. Matthew Ogle
    27 February, 13:00

    We’ll try and bring this same data to the group pages themselves soon, so you can see what you’ll be getting in the radio and how it shakes out across different kinds of groups.

    Three cheers for Norman and his music science brigade!

    Matthew Ogle – 27 February, 13:00
  9. maz35
    27 February, 13:44

    Now this sounds great, If it works as you say it’ll make the groups much more interesting to me.

    At least this may solve the Radiohead are everywhere problem in the groups.

    maz35 – 27 February, 13:44
  10. tonausstrom
    27 February, 14:38

    I guess the group charts are not affected? I feel that would be wrong, and blurring the facts. A group with members sharing a really specific, prevailing listening habit is an entire different beast than one where people mostly listen to mainstream, and only occasionally enjoy the supposedly typical sound of the group.

    tonausstrom – 27 February, 14:38
  11. Joel
    27 February, 15:43

    Very cool, I’d like to see it on the group pages though

    Or is it already there and I’m missing it?

    I love last.fm, so glad I signed up over 3 years ago now!

    Joel – 27 February, 15:43
  12. Norman Casagrande
    27 February, 17:18

    @tonausstrom: group charts are the base for group radio. Since the radio is changed they did too. This is atm only behind the curtains but..

    @Joel: ..as matt said, we are working to display them soon (and the user should be able to select which chart type the like most).

    Norman Casagrande – 27 February, 17:18
  13. sch
    27 February, 20:16

    Looks like Radiohead will vanish from every single group radio? No complaints here ;)

    sch – 27 February, 20:16
  14. Josh
    27 February, 23:18

    Hey, thanks for mentioning the Saxophonists group. I’m quite proud of the charts we have been able to achieve, and you’re right, the end result for this and other groups are unique, diverse and interesting.

    I guess I have a bit of a chart fetish too :-)

    Josh – 27 February, 23:18
  15. AnnyR
    27 February, 23:24

    You heard us! Thanks!
    We’ve been talking about this on the boards. I never use the group radios for this reason, probably few people did. Any details about how this will work? Will it use group connections?

    AnnyR – 27 February, 23:24
  16. Campbell
    28 February, 09:51

    I really like this change, some interesting bands are coming up although I don’t really understand how it does all work yet.

    Campbell – 28 February, 09:51
  17. RJ
    28 February, 14:20

    We really should expose these charts somewhere, i’ve seen them and they’re awesome – makes so much more sense to me than the current ones.

    RJ – 28 February, 14:20
  18. Snyde1
    29 February, 00:30

    Yeah, what RJ said … I’d like to see these for several groups, and not just ones that I am a member of.

    Norman’s a bit of a tease. Letting us know all this is happening, yet not how to see it … B-)

    Snyde1 – 29 February, 00:30
  19. HodgeStar
    29 February, 13:17

    works a treat! thanks

    HodgeStar – 29 February, 13:17
  20. Sam Saunders
    1 March, 18:34

    In the Thoughtful about music in West Yorkshire group we teamed up with an excellent local web site: www.leedsmusciscene.net and got lots of peple applying a unique tag (lms artist) to all kinds of artists from our region. The result is a prett specific tag radio station that we link from out group page and which the local website has on its own front page.

    We’re very pleased with the result. It represents our region’s popular music very well.

    Sam Saunders – 1 March, 18:34
  21. Tecfan
    10 March, 14:14

    cool! Gotta test this

    Tecfan – 10 March, 14:14
  22. Lorelei
    25 March, 15:57


    Lorelei – 25 March, 15:57
  23. Andreas
    28 March, 21:56

    The new group radios work great! So when will we see the new charts in the groups?

    Andreas – 28 March, 21:56
  24. Rob Szarka
    29 March, 16:50

    Awesome! I remember suggesting this a couple of times over the years, and this will definitely inspire me to put more work into the groups I run. :)

    Rob Szarka – 29 March, 16:50

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