Sunday, June 18, 2006

Not so Random i-pod Shuffle

I'm not looking for a conspiracy but it does seem slightly odd that when I put my i-pod on shuffle there are certain songs it always plays. I find this slightly annoying. If you set it to shuffle a playlist of 180 tracks you want a bit of variety, but no, the same tracks come up every time and what is weirder is that one of the tracks that keeps coming up on my ipod, 100 Billion Stars by Lux, also comes up over and over on Hunchermuncher's ipod.

I did wonder if maybe it is to do with where you downloaded the tracks from in the first place, but there is just no way of knowing. It means that I quickly tire of certain tracks and then remove them for a while. According to Steve Fruhlinger I am just doing the human thing - looking for patterns in things.

"Apple's engineers swear that the shiny white music players actually do use pseudo-randomizing algorithms for shuffle play. The people at Newsweek were kind enough to verify this with Steve Jobs when they found that their iPod had an unhealthy obsession with Steely Dan (it happens). The conclusion? People love their iPods so much that they look for patterns in the pseudo-randomness. It's what we do, as humans."

But what if there really is a pattern???


Farmer Drama said...

Well, on that site you found about i-pod randomness there is a long string of comments from which I am summarising some of the arguments as follows: 1) On a playlist the ipod always plays the first track and then the rest in random order. As 100 million stars begins with a number, it will always be picked first. 2) If the ipod were truly random, some songs would get played more than once in a playlist and some not at all. 3) However if you keep playing playlists some songs will get played more times BECAUSE it is random. It would only equal out over a very long period of time.

pupski said...

Yes well my i-pod plays that track a lot but it is never first. The ipod always starts with the same track which is ok. But it does seem that some tracks get more play than others for instance this week I put 12 new tracks into a playlist and so far haven't heard any of them.


This is really interesting! I also feel that my i-pod seems to have its own fave tracks among my almost 3K songs. It keeps on playing them when I put it on shuffle.