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MusicStrands uses artificial intelligence to recommend music to site visitors


The Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona Research Park has a new company: a spin-off of the UAB and the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC). MusicStrands uses artificial intelligence techniques to provide people with music recommendations.

At MusicStrands website ( people share their tastes in music and then receive music recommendations. This initiative is the first and only one to use tags applied to music; tags are labels that people can attach on the music they like for easy retrieval later. Tags also make it easy to discover playlists by keying on interesting tags supplied by other users; in addition, tags can help anyone organize playlists by common features. Users of the MusicStrands website have access to a directory of 3.9 million songs.

The initiative’s unique technology has been developed by the team at CSIC’s Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence in the UAB Research Park. The artificial intelligence techniques used for the recommender systems are based on statistical learning, Bayesian estimation, probabilistic reasoning and visualisation techniques. Five patents have already been awarded thanks to the innovations, and it is hoped that forty patents will be granted over the next five years.

The word “Strands” has an important meaning among biotechnicians. The metaphor describes what the MusicStrands project is all about: identifying tastes in music based on the analysis of the “DNA of music”.

The team running the initiative includes well known scientists and entrepreneurs, such as the founder Francisco J. Martín, who is a specialist researcher and renowned entrepreneur; John Herlocker, pioneer of recommender systems and one of the most talked-about scientists of the last decade; Derek Reisfield, former president of CBS New Media; the president of the Machine Learning Society and the most famous scientist in the field of statistical machine learning, Tom Dietterich; Spanish scientist and entrepreneur Marc Torrens; and the former chief scientist of Amazon Andreas Weigend.

The MusicStrands R+D laboratory was conceived at the CSIC’s Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence, within the UAB Research Park, alongside scientists from two prestigious institutions: the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Oregon State University, USA. The company has offices both in Barcelona and Corvallis, Oregon (USA).

The 35 members of the MusicStrands team come from many parts of the world including Korea, Spain, UK, USA, China and Switzerland. They include business people, as well as experts in artificial intelligence, music, business development, marketing and communication, programming and computer security.

Octavi López Coronado | alfa
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