Oct 25

Brady Forrest

Brady Forrest

iLike, Recommending Music for Your iPod

Looking for new music and curious what your friends are listening to? Or just looking for a tool to help you make quick playlists of your existing collection? iLike, a service that is launching today, might be a service for you to try. It is a social music service that plugs into the iPod, iTunes, and iTunes Music Sore ecosystem very effectively. The service is comprised of a useful iTunes sidebar that is connected to companion social-networking & music site ( both pull in music from Last week I sat down with the CEO Hadi Partovi to learn about the service.

The ILike site is very user-oriented. Each user has a profile page that lists their Top Artists and Songs (based on number of plays), recently played songs and artists, and their friends. If you are logged in you get a personalized view of the person that includes a compatibility score (I can see this being quite viral), artists you have in common, and music. Users are able to message each other and send music recommendations. Artist and album pages focus on the fans. They show top listeners, most listened songs and recommendations. If you find music that you like you can buy if Amazon or iTunes. Though they are not present today, the site will be ad-supported.

The iTunes sidebar is the other half of the product. It has four tabs: Related, Friends, Playlists, and Profile. The Related tab provides recommendations based on the song you are listening to right then. The recommendations are based on user listening habits and include selections available in the iTunes store and free tracks available from The Friends tab lets you see what your online friends are listening to. The Playlist tab enables you to create playlists of your own music based on a single artist. On the tab, you can enter an artists ("Portishead") and the iLike sidebar will create a new playlist populated with music from your iTunes that sounds like this artist ("Massive Attack" and other triphop). This is very powerful and is one of the main reasons that I plan to use this service. Unfortunately, it is Windows-only, but that will be addressed in a near-term release. The sidebar will be available for other platforms in time.

Click-thru for more..

In addition to plugging into the iTunes system, iLike is aiming for MySpace. Users are able to add iLike widgets to their blog or MySpace pages that show their recently and most played tracks. If the other viewer is also a member of iLike then they will see their compatibility score. I bet mySpace quickly becomes their top channel for gaining new customers.

Much of this services value lies in the quality of the recommendations. The data for the recommendations comes from the users. The sidebar slowly uploads your iTunes and iPod listening history (after some clear privacy warnings). In addition to fueling recommendations, the data is fed into your profile to create your compatibility scores, your top artists and songs. iLike currently has a very small user base, but the recommendations I was receiving were quite accurate. The recommended Garageband tunes were quite often very good. There are cases where they were not able to supply recommendations for specific songs, but this will come as more people use the service.

ILike is going to draw many comparisons to The services are similar in many ways. Both upload their users' listening habits, have social networking sites, and make recommendations to their users. has their own radio service that plays music based on your previous listening habits and ratings. They also have much fuller site. iLike has two major differentiators. One is their sidebar which keeps their service in front of their users. The second is the not easily-duplicated inventory of free music in

ILike comes from garageband and is based in Seattle. The team is comprised of may ex-Microsofties (Disclaimer: some of who I worked with in my past life at MSN). Hadi and his brother Ali run the company together. You can follow the team on their blog.

As you may have been able to tell, I am a fan of iLike. The site is clean and easy to use, but it's the sidebar that will keep me using them. I am a fan of myware (software that spies on me for me) and like seeing what I do in aggregate. In addition to providing me this data, iLike feeds me new music, lets me share and provides me with new tools to manipulate my own collection. They have a smart plan that ads value to an existing ecosystem.

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Comments: 4

  Alex [10.25.06 11:56 AM]

"It is a social music service that plugs into the iPod, iTunes, and iTunes Music Sore ecosystem very effectively."

Music Sore indeed.

  Joe McCarthy [10.25.06 10:00 PM]

Great review -- sounds like an interesting and useful service. Jason Rentfrow and Bruce Gosling at University of Texas have been conducting some research into musical preferences and what they reveal about personalities (though not [yet] about compatibilities).

I don't know how you resisted making the obvious pun (which I'm obviously not above making): "I like iLike".

  Ed Verillo [10.26.06 05:27 AM]

The concept is very similar to the already well estabilished which not only has all the features available on iLike but also offers music streaming based on your or your neighbours musical preferences.

  Greg P [10.26.06 07:27 AM] is the winner for me in this category.

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