'My Hit Radio' - New Dynamic Playlist Generator

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by GTDaveMac, Aug 19, 2009.

  1. GTDaveMac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    #1
    'My Hit Radio' is a new way to listen to the music that you own. Really, it's the first of it's kind. It combines smart playlists that actually update on the fly, with ratings, and in essence creates a playlist that is akin to your favorite radio station's playlist. If you've rated your music already, 'My Hit Radio' will just start working, and plays higher rated songs more often, and lower rated music LESS often. Many people have the problem of turning on Shuffle on their iPod, and hear a lot of music they own, but don't care to listen to all the time, especially if your entire library is stored on your device. Users can rate songs 1-star and they will never be played in this app/playlist. (optional) And, each star rating can be individually customized as to how often they will be played. It's very nice to know that you can rate songs with, for example, 2 stars and they will only be played every 8 months.

    I've used this scheme for a year (using 8 combined smart playlists) and it has worked well, except it required the device to be synced with iTunes to update the smart playlists. 'My Hit Radio' works on the fly... and it really sounds like you've got your own personalized radio station. It's nice when some of the lower rated songs play, and if you realize you've missed hearing it, you can bump up the rating.

    There are some promo codes on the Code Sharing Forum.

    Please let me know if you like this app. I think it provides a lot of utility, and although I still use Pandora, Slacker, and the iPod Genius, I primary use this app when listening to my own music.

    Please read the description on the iTunes App Store to learn more. I've provided functionality so that if you don't have any music rated (as I had when I started using this method) you can rate a few songs and then rate-on-the fly using the iPod app on your device. There is a limiting function (which be disabled) that only puts as many unrated songs as you have rated songs.

    iTunes Link:
    http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=323258519&mt=8
     

    Attached Files:

  2. GTDaveMac thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 31, 2008
    #2
    There is a confirmed bug in iPhone software 3.1.2 which hangs my app for 3-4 seconds upon launch, where you cannot pause/play/skip right after launch. Once Apple corrects this bug, I have some plans for this app including limiting by genre or playlist, and possible autoset feature to optimize the playlist.

    Any other ideas?
     
  3. robgonzo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    #3
    I've been using your app for a short time, I'm still trying to get used to it I guess.
    Does it have to recreate a play list everytime it opens? Can't it just resume the one from last time and only recreate if you tell it to?
    I've got a 2500 songs on my ipod and it takes a while to make a play list every time I want to listen to music.
    Also my music collection spans many genres and this app sometimes plays some jarring combinations of music. I wouldn't want to limit out any music but a gentler progression from softer to harder would be nice. Don't know how you'd do that though Apple Genius info perhaps?
    anyway. look foward to seeing what comes of this.
     
  4. GTDaveMac thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 31, 2008
    #4
    Thanks for the comment.

    You see, the iPhone SDK is very limited in what can be accessed in terms of iPod data. I am planning some changes, but currently, the only way to see if a song has been played is to check every song. Also, since songs cannot be rated in the app. What does this all mean? I had to think very carefully about how the app should work, and it really depends on how it's used....

    I use this app almost every day...and I generally start the app, and music starts playing right away. After the playlist is loaded (you can hear the music pause for a fraction of a second, and the button text changes) I usually quit the app and open the iPod. This way I can rate songs, or change ratings.

    In fact, my original idea was to have the app simply be a "playlist launcher" and then quit. I decided against this, partially because having an app quit by itself is against some of the iPhone guidelines. Additionally, having the "Skip and Mark as Played" can be useful.

    I do plan on addressing your "jarring combination" issue. Unfortunately, there is no way to tap into the 'Genius' system. The only thing that I can think of is to add a "limit by Genre or Playlist" option that allows multiple genres/playlists to be selected and have the app either limit to these or exclude these.

    I am waiting for Apple to address the bug which causes the iPod library access to be slow. Before this happens, any of my planned changes will just make the app seem slower.

    I also have some ideas to make the initial loading faster or more in the background. However, your idea as suggested, in terms of keeping a playlist until refreshed, takes away from the basis of the app. If you have 5 star songs play no more than every day, then you want these songs to be included in the playlist more often. It's designed to give you a different playlist every time it's opened, but because it keeps the current song playing upon launch, allows for a more seamless experience.
     
  5. robgonzo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    #5
    Ok. I'm catching on to it now.
    So if I really want to continue a play list all i really need to do is open iTunes and pick up where it left off. If I want to create a new one i'll open the app again.
    Now my question is, my ratings follow a bell curve with 3 stars being the most common. Consequently 3 star songs make up the bulk of any play list. I'm guessing that to get 4 and 5 star songs to come up more often on the list I just need to use it more till all those 3 starred songs get played and aren't due to come back on for 6 weeks (or whatever the setting is)?
    Is there any other way to shorten this process?
     
  6. GTDaveMac thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 31, 2008
    #6
    Yes, open the iPod app and your playlist will continue. Now, sometimes you open the iPod app and there is no "Now Playing" item. I don't know why, but sometime the iPod app loses it's playlist.

    Either way, everything is very dynamic and it shouldn't matter whether the playlist is the same. Think of it like using Pandora or Slacker. You don't know what's coming next, but it fits your criteria. Whether you choose to re-open the app or continue the playlist in the iPod app is up to you.

    In 'My Hit Radio', if you have too many of one type of song, then simply extend the time before a rating is repeated. In your case, it sounds like you should make the "3 star" songs play less frequently.

    Another feature I was thinking of adding was an "autofill" setting that adjusts the sliders based on how many songs you have.

    The hardest thing about promoting my app is that I find it very functional, but at face value it doesn't seem to do much. I listen to almost all my music using 'My Hit Radio', and then sometimes I use Genius or listen to a particular album.
     
  7. GTDaveMac thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 31, 2008
    #7
    You've got me thinking... instead of adding all the songs that match and then shuffling, I could have an option to add songs to the playlist by rating to get a more even mixture of ratings. In essence, you would be guaranteed to hear an even mixture of songs instead of a whole bunch of 3 star songs, then 1 five star song.

    I have to think about this.
     
  8. robgonzo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    #8
    ok I've been using the app a bit more and getting more used to it. Some questions and observations:
    If I listen to music on iPod shuffle or just listen to a whole album do those plays count when a play list is created?
    Also I note that it creates long play lists, in the hundreds and thousands. Wouldn't smaller lists be more resonable and quicker? 24 hours is at the most only 350-400 songs.
    I've noticed duplicates when I scroll through the list. Should it be doing that? I thought after it played a song it wouldn't play it again till the time you set.

    The way I use it, because I usually upload whole albums to my ipod and default all songs that i'm not familiar with to 3 stars, I preffer to close the app and open iPod so that I can change the rating as those songs come up.

    There are two reasons I still think it would be more valuable to have the app create a play list when I ask it too instead of when it opens.
    First, I'd like to go from iPod back to the app on occasion to see the list and see what songs are coming up.
    Second, there are times when I have just a few minutes to do something active on my phone like a game or email but after that plent of time to listen to music, but since I also listen to podcasts and audiobooks, I have to open the app to start a new play list.
    It would be nice to be able to open the app, return to a playlist that maybe had only been created earlier that day, then quickly close the app and go on to something else. At present I have to wait 3-4 minutes for another list to load. Not long I admit but when you're thinking of other things you could be doing it seems like forever.

    Thanks for making the app. I really do like it and it's nice getting feed back from the author.
     
  9. GTDaveMac thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 31, 2008
    #9
    Yes.

    'My Hit Radio' was meant to be launched and music played. I limitation of the SDK caused the playlist load time to be about a minute. Currently, the only way to make the app do what it is supposed to do, creating a dynamic playlist, makes it take this much time to load.

    I usually close the app once the playlist is loaded too.

    The way it's dynamic in nature is more like Pandora or Slacker. If what you ask were possible, then songs that should play more often would never be loaded. (5 star, for example)

    As long as you haven't loaded another playlist in the iPod app, your playlist should still be there. Just open the iPod app and hit play.

    You're welcome. There is more that I would like to do, but until Apple fixes some known bugs, I can't make too much more progress on my app.
     
  10. GTDaveMac, Apr 12, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011

    GTDaveMac thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 31, 2008
    #10
    I've finally updated My Hit Radio to version 2.0 and it's free for a limited time. 2.0 will add features that you've asked for including in-app rating, customizable source to eliminate "jarring" combinations of music, and UI update for retina display.

    Free for a limited time.

    Preview at http://www.dmactech.net/DMac_Technologies/My_Hit_Radio.html
     
  11. GTDaveMac, Apr 13, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2011

    GTDaveMac thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 31, 2008
  12. GTDaveMac thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
  13. DevonAccountant macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    #13
    Problems with My Hit Radio

    Hi,

    I have been using My Hit Radio for a few months now and really enjoying it. However, I have noticed recently (possibly since the IOS5 update) that it is repeating tracks before it should (e.g. a 4 star track was played 3 days after it was last played despite the setting for 4 star being two weeks).

    Also when I go to show playlist and try to launch a track from there it defaults back to the beginning of the playlist. I'm sure it never used to do this.

    Has anyone else experienced this or know of a solution?

    Thanks
     
  14. GTDaveMac thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    #14
    Yes, I have found these bugs in 5.0 and removed My Hit Radio and the free version from the App Store until I fix it. I believe the bugs are almost removed, but I need to make sure. Also, I am having problems with iTunes Match, so having that enabled may break My Hit Radio. That will be next to fix, but I want to get it working for everyone else with your problem, first.
     

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