October 25, 2006
At this point in time I am writing the conclusions of my thesis. During the journey of this research, my interest for topics that are related to my research is increased significantly. Therefore I keep track of some sites that regularly write about related topics, for instance TechCrunch of Michael Arrington. Yesterday TechCrunch posted about a new startup called iLike. It has some similarities with Last.fm and Pandora. Recently, many services started which can be compared to Last.fm and/or Pandora.
The reason I write about iLike, is because one of my conclusions it that recommendations are important in these kind of services. I did not try the service, but it is nice to notice that companies like this are there, and that they are related to my study. My first impression is that it can be compared to Last.fm, because they seem to support a community.
I think it would have been a service that could have been of value for my thesis, if it had just existed six months ago…
October 2, 2006
I ran into an interesting article today, where mass customization of television is the subject.
The best thing of this article is that it has some similarities with my research, and that some early conclusions seem to correspond. The experience when customizing digital products seem to be very important, which is rather different than with mass customization of physical products. The interaction length of time should be as short as possible when customizing physical products, while it seems it should be long when customizing products. The experience is still important when customizing digital products, but not during the interacion process, but during use. With digital products, the interaction process with the supplier and the use of the product happens at the same time. This shows some similarities with services; services are always produced and used simultaneously. One can only value a digital product after it is being used.
The above argument shows similarities with the following quote from the article: “Community based interactive channels and programmes let viewers feel they are a part of the programme, that their views and opinions make a difference and that they are part of an active community. This emotional connection will not only keep them watching, but also participating.” Close relationships between supplier and consumer are important, what indicates that a high degree of customization (consumer involvement) should be available.
Social also communities seem to be important for experience goods. “The real challenge for us all is to create cost-effective, revenue-generating interactive services, whether for brand promotion, product sales, social networking or gaming, that deliver both shared and unique experiences and foster active communities of interest.”
It seems that customization of television shows similarities with customization of digital music. Nice for further research…
September 28, 2006
Today I received an invitation to test uPlayMe, a free social networking application designed to link people with similar tastes in musical artists, songs or genres. I received the invite because of the contents of this blog, in particular because I have blogged on AudioScrobbler (now Last.fm).
It made me curious, so I played with the application a bit. According to uPlayMe, uPlayMe is free software that you download to your computer. After it’s installed, it looks at the digital media (like songs, videos, and podcasts) that you play and matches you with people who are playing the same things as you. It works based on the things you actually have recently played, not all the stuff in your entire library (uPlayMe support).
The comparison with Last.fm can be made because you can find fans of particular artists or tracks, called ‘matches’. Also, a match is made when you have recently listened to music that someone also listened to recently. It is possible to contact a match through email.
The comparison ends there, because you are not able to discover music directly, you can only see what your match recently listened to. The program is still in beta, so maybe more features are coming soon.
If you wish to try the program, please drop your email address and I will send an invite. Currently it is on an invitiation basis only.
July 26, 2006
While I am writing my thesis, and reading literature on mass customization, characteristics of information products and other parent disciplines for this research, it is getting clearer that existing literature has a gap on customization of digital or information products. That makes my research interesting for me and maybe for some other people too.
As can be read on this blog, digital products are being customized and personalized on the Internet. Digital products in the form of music, or music stations, can be customized on Last.fm and Pandora. As I had contacted Frank Piller before on this research, he showed his interest in the subject. Now on his mass-customization weblog this topic is getting attention, as he has reviewed Pandora and some other services that allow music to be personalized.
It makes me curious if customization and personalization is getting more attention in scientific literature in the near future. But if Frank Piller is starting to mention it, I’m sure it will.
June 5, 2006
My research is not about communities, but communities arise constantly on the Internet. Also for digital customizable products such as music, for example Last.fm. These communities are mostly based on similarities and, in the case of Last.fm, at the same time about discovering new music also based on similarities. Now there are some critics on this, because these similarities are killing these communities.
"If people can get any song they like, why should they listen to their friend's music, or (horrors) listen to the music selected by a group of barflys? By allowing people to have whatever they want, are we destroying that ability to get along?" (source: Bloggingstocks). The same can be said about blogs, do they only attract people that are alike, or do people with different interests also interact on these topics? Or as a professor of us in class puts it, "blogs are a-social!"
May 9, 2006
The interviews that I had scheduled so far are all done. If the respondents are reading this, I would like to say "Thanks again!". At this point, before I have analyzed the interviews, I have only transcribed them, I can already say their input is very valuable for my research.
As for now it has no use to go into detail of the contents of the interviews. First, I will treat the conversation confidentially. I respect the openness of the subjects, and will not misuse it. Second,like I mentioned, I yet have to analyze them. So I probably will give more detail after that.
For now, I can say my research is progressing as planned, and I will continue to update this blog on a regular basis. The feedback I get is motivating me to keep updating it.
May 3, 2006
Just one day before my interviews with Matt Nichols and Tim Westergren of Pandora, the system is getting an important update. They're extending their playlist generation with user input. It seems like an extra way to customize radio stations. When you let the system know the played song was not good, that feedback will be used for all listeners. It is called 'community feedback'.
Source: here and here.