New Media Studies

Midomi Outline/ Written Component

April 30th, 2008 by grace · No Comments

Why did you choose Midomi for your project?

I was skimming through an issue of Popular Science a while ago and found an article explaining the concept behind and creation of midomi. Of course, this article was written in response to midomi receiving a Best of What’s New 2007 award. I’ve always been interested in music, and have recently been following technology trends, so I naturally was drawn to the article. I had always meant to look further into midomi and try it out on my own, but never did. This project was the perfect opportunity for me to try midomi out. I promptly went out and bought the cheapest microphone I could find, then found that it wasn’t working! Upon further testing, I realized that it was not the cheapness of the mic (as I had originally assumed) but was, instead, a problem with my laptop. So I have used midomi’s search features and can attest to their accuracy, but this explains both why I have not uploaded any renditions of my own and why I chose to make my creative portion the way I did.

So what is Midomi?

Midomi is the “ultimate music search tool” and is powered by singing, humming, or whistling. It was launched in January 2007 by Melodis Corporation. Melodis was founded by several friends at Stanford University who wanted to develop technology to identify songs that get stuck in your head. Currently there are over 2 million songs for legal download in midomi’s online store. Users have the option of either buying the album from Amazon or downloading songs from iTunes. The site is now available in 10 different languages. In addition to having this search option, midomi is a social networking site. Users can become friends or fans of each other, comment on user renditions, rate songs, write messages, post notes (either through text or audio), post pictures, follow recording artists, and create playlists.

How does Midomi’s search work?

Users can search for songs by using either a traditional text-based artist/song/album search or by singing their own renditions of a song via a microphone connected to their computer. If searching by the latter, users are shown matches according to how well elements of the rendition match up with other songs. Midomi uses a technology developed by Melodis called Multimodal Adaptive Recognition System (MARS). This technology identifies pitch variation, rhythm information, location of pauses, phonetic content and speech content in various songs and matches these with songs in the midomi database. More weight is given to stronger components. For example, phonetic and speech content would play more heavily in the search of songs sung with lyrics than in songs that are hummed or whistled. MARS searches independent of key, tempo, language, or singing quality, which means that you don’t have to be a great singer in order for the search to work! According to Melodis, MARS has 95% accuracy. It makes sense that with the more user submissions that are uploaded to midomi the more accurate the search becomes, since there is more data to search from. MARS is marketed as the future of search, and its creators feel this is the first step towards the day when we will all be able to give commands to our computers just by talking to them. Midomi features an introductory video tour for first-time users showing them how the search works.

How does this relate to what we’ve read?

In “As We May Think” Bush focuses on both the fundamentals of search and the future of recorded speech. He predicts the creation of a machine that is a hybrid of a Vocoder and a stenotype which “types when talked to” (40). He also describes a faster method of searching that narrows down the possibilities by first applying a class, then a subclass, then other subclasses until there is only one possibility left (43). This is reminiscent of MARS technology, where possibilities for song matches are found by applying certain weighted characteristics to the search process. Bush also writes that a more effective way of searching would mimic how humans think. Results would come about by a system of association rather than a system of indexing (44).

In “Man-Computer Symbiosis” Licklider predicts how computers and humans will coexist in the future. According to him computers will perform diagnosis, pattern-matching, and relevance-recognizing tasks. He believed that computers would take a secondary status in these areas (77). Indeed MARS does rely on the input of humans for the search to be effective. Additionally, humans did first specify which components were to be weighted in particular situations in the model that MARS uses. Finally, Licklider predicted in 1960 that speech recognition technologies would take at least 5 years to be developed (77).

Tell me more about the Home page.

This is where you start. Recording options are listed at the top. “My Updates” are updated hourly.

Tell me more about my Profile.

This is where you can see your updates, notes that have been posted to you, photos of yourself, your friends, your fans, your favs, the fan clubs you belong to, and your personal info. You can edit you profile, status, and preferences here, as well as upload photos and listen to your playlists and recordings.

Tell me more about the Studio.

When recording a song for the midomi database users must first identify either the song or artist name. In order for the information about artists to be viewed on midomi, that artist’s information must first appears on allmusic.com. In the case of local or lesser-known artists, this information might not be there.

Tell me more about the midomi Stars page.

This is where the top recordings, top performers, and up and coming performers are listed. Also included are recently playlisted, recently recorded, and recently featured feeds.

Tell me more about the Hot Artists page.

This is where you can view the most active and top recording artists on midomi. These are updated every two weeks. You can also see the top tracks, largest fan clubs, hottest recordings by language, and a “What’s Happening” feed. Here is where you can access artist pages/fan clubs. On individual artist pages the biography, photos, albums, songs, tour dates, and midomi fans of the artist are listed. Similar artists are also listed. User renditions of the artist’s songs are found here. Users may listen to 30 second previews of original songs and have the option of either legally downloading songs from iTunes or purchasing albums from Amazon. Users may post notes to fan club/artist pages and upload photos of the artist to the gallery.

Tell me more about the Explore feature.

Here is where you can see what renditions are available on midomi. You can narrow your search by genre, language, and date recorded. Searching is done in the categories of Recommended, Up and Coming, Top Recordings, Recently Featured, Recently Playlisted, and Fan Clubs (of which you belong). Users can listen to renditions, post notes and comments, share this rendition with friends, and buy the original version. This is a great way to find out about different midomi stars and unusual renditions!

Is there anything else I should know about midomi?

The creators regularly update a blog which addresses user interests and queries. A forum was also launched in 2008 for the same purpose. There is also a standard Help page organized by topics/FAQ. Midomi and Melodis appear to be very open to suggestions and problems from users. Also, there are several career opportunities at Melodis for tech-saavy people. Midomi recently launched a search application for cell phones in 2008.

Why were you allowed to make your creative portion like that? Isn’t it stealing?

Here is an excerpt from the Terms of Use:

You also hereby grant to each user of the midomi Service a non-exclusive license to access your User Submissions through the midomi Service, and to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform such User Submissions only to the extent as permitted by the functionality of the midomi Service and these Terms. If you desire midomi to prevent other Users from accessing your User Submissions, please remove them as allowed for in the midomi Service. However, we cannot guarantee that your User Submissions will be completely removed from midomi, nor that other midomi Users will not misuse any content that you supply.

And here, from the Privacy Policy:

Any member profile information, media, music, audio recording, image, comment, or any other content posted onto the midomi Service at your direction becomes publicly-published content, is not considered personally identifiable information subject to this Privacy Notice, and may be collected and used by others.

What did you use to make your creative portion?

I used a two-ended jack and plugged it into both my audio and mic holes (um, the pink and green places- excuse my lack of tech lingo). By doing so, I was able to record renditions from midomi. I then listened to the recordings and told my assistant where to edit them/ mix them. He then compiled and edited the versions into one song in Tracktion, which was then converted into an mp3. From there, I decided to make a humorous video using Windows Movie Maker that would accompany the song.

Again, I apologize to everyone that today’s presentation did not go as smoothly as planned. Here is the link to my video on YouTube:

Enjoy!

Tags: umw_nms_s08