Is Shuffle really Random?

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by BlindMellon, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. BlindMellon macrumors 65816

    BlindMellon

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    Apr 4, 2011
    #1
    i swear i hear the same bands and songs over and over on shuffle. i've got over 4000 songs on my iphone and there's bands on there i never hear while there's bands and songs i hear every single day.

    anyone know what algorithms they're using to produce this crappy shuffle?

    i know some will say 'random' is a crap shoot and you'll sometimes hear repeats but not to every hear probably half my collection while the other half gets played to death doesn't seem right.
     
  2. decafjava macrumors 68000

    decafjava

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    #2
    I've read it has something to do with ratings-have you rated your songs?
     
  3. sviato macrumors 68020

    sviato

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    #3
    you could be shuffling your like recently played or most played songs, happened to me when i kept hearing the same stuff too often
     
  4. SharepointGuy macrumors member

    SharepointGuy

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    #4
  5. vincenz macrumors 601

    vincenz

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    #5
    There's actually a little goblin inside your iPod making it play the same songs over and over :eek:
     
  6. BlindMellon thread starter macrumors 65816

    BlindMellon

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    #6
    interesting article, though it mostly talks about how iTunes shuffles music, not ipod:
    "The shuffle order can also be affected by user settings. In iTunes' iTunes DJ mode, users can ask iTunes to play songs that are highly rated more often, thus skewing the randomness. Songs can also be marked "Skip When Shuffling" so that they're excluded from all shuffles in iTunes DJ or a regular shuffle. "

    the only time i rate anything at all is to give it one star because i don't want to hear it so often.
     
  7. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

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    #7
    It's random, but the human brain is so incredibly good at picking up patterns that it often sees them where they don't exist.

    So the problem is that you have a human brain. Sorry about that.

    It's the whole reason Apple invented the "more random than random" feature for iTunes. It goes out of its way to not play bands' songs back to back even if that's what came up randomly. It's a way to fight that pattern-recognition aspect in our brains.

    I do find it odd they haven't put that feature in iPhones, though.
     
  8. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    #8
    Damn it, I got the same problem having a human brain:D
    Is there a hack available for this issue?
     
  9. err404 macrumors 68020

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    #9
    AFAIK Shuffle is not random. The likelihood of a song playing is weighted by rating and play count.
     
  10. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

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    #10
    Hmmm, now that I look closer, it seems that Apple removed that 'extra-random-shuffle' feature in iTunes 8.

    So I guess that's why it's not on the iPhone...they decided they didn't like it, period.
     
  11. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

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    #11
    Whether it is my all too human brain picking up non existent patterns or not, I personally think Apple's shuffle algorithm is crap.

    I have thousands of "songs" on my iPhone; no way I should be hearing so many repeats if it is a true shuffle.

    YMMV, of course.
     
  12. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

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    #12
    It's impossible for a computer to make something truly "Random".
     
  13. err404 macrumors 68020

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    #13
    The point is that it's not even pseudo random. It's an intentionally weighted algorithm that appears to make some bad assumptions on what to play. For example it appears to treat song with a high play count as more desirable. One of the side effect of this, is that the popular tracks in your library will continually become even more popular as the play count is driven upwards. Rarely played songs will almost never come up in the rotation simply because they have a low play count.
     
  14. dccorona macrumors 68020

    dccorona

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    Jun 12, 2008
    #14
    no

    but that is because it is literally impossible to have true statistical randomization...the closest possible thing to true randomization is done with vibration atoms or something along those lines

    basically, no matter how well the algorithm is written (if they were even going for true randomization, I think its based on playcounts and ratings) the selections of the software will always be influenced by outside factors such as what is currently in memory...one of the reasons generating a random number sequence on 2 identical brand new calculators will usually come out the same...you have to manually input different things into a specific memory cell to get different results.

    I remember having to do that often in my statistics class
     
  15. dccorona macrumors 68020

    dccorona

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    #15
    ive never experienced that...it gives me songs from my most played artists more often, but not my most played songs
     
  16. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #17
    I hardly ever use shuffle so I have never really noticed this.
     
  17. Primejimbo macrumors 68040

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  18. jonter19 macrumors member

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    #19
    Like others have said, it's based off of an algorithm.

    I used to work in a retail store that used a computer with iTunes to play background music. We had almost 500 songs set on shuffle, but we began to notice that it would play the same 20 songs over and over no matter what settings we changed.

    I've never personally had anything like that happen on my devices, but shuffle is anything but random.
     
  19. BlindMellon thread starter macrumors 65816

    BlindMellon

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    Apr 4, 2011
    #20
    damn, synced with itunes, wiped all play information (and i rate nothing). the very next morning (today) i hear two songs (out of 4000 mind you) that i heard last night on the way home from work. that's 2 repeats from last night in about 30 minutes.

    that's some crappy shuffle that's for sure.
     
  20. Pravius macrumors regular

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    MI
    #21
    I know that iTunes keeps track of how many times you have listened to a song. Maybe the software is assuming that if you listen to a song alot you must like it and therefore playing it more often than the others?

    I have always thought that truthfully with shuffle. I may be wrong but it sounds good :p
     
  21. Looon macrumors 6502a

    Looon

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    Jul 10, 2009
    #22
    A long time ago I noticed that it seemed like every time I hit shuffle on my iphone it would shuffle them in the exact same order every time even with a few hundred songs. That was back on the first iphone though never happens anymore but other people had complained about it too
     
  22. benhollberg macrumors 68020

    benhollberg

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    #23
    ?

    ?
     
  23. grantsdale macrumors 6502a

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    May 11, 2008
    #24
    As far as I know

    and

    your mileage may vary
     
  24. b166er macrumors 68020

    b166er

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    #25
    I have roughly 4,000 songs in my library.

    When I take my iPod with me in my car I almost always set it to shuffle. Since the iPod hooks into my stereo directly, it is often there for days without ever actually turning off. Without fail, the first 200 or so songs that it plays are the same every time. They're in a different order each time, but it always favors the same songs. There is stuff in my library my iPod has not shuffled to in YEARS. I once let it keep going and going until it had played about 600 songs and it still always favored the same artist. Most annoyingly, I have a lot of songs that have alternate versions (live versions, remixes, etc) and I will hear the same song 4 times!

    iTunes seems to be a lot more random than my iPod. As for my iPhone- I honestly have not used the shuffle feature that much. I only use the phone for music when I'm at the gym (and I need certain music for that) or the occasional road trip or flight. There isn't all that much music loaded on to it usually.
     

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