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Show HN: I got tired of missing new music releases, so I built this (beathound.com)
58 points by girasquid 1613 days ago | hide | past | web | 73 comments | favorite

This is a good idea for a service but I found the interface too confusing regarding how to use it, why it had to have that information, and how it worked.

Select file would seem to mean the iTunes folder? Or do I select "iTunes Music Library.xml" inside it (a large file). What personal and private information is in that file anyway? How will it be used? Where is it going? What if the xml file I have is for a different version of iTunes than the site supports? Is there a list of iTunes versions tested and supported listed somewhere on the site? What happens if a bunch of users have information in that file that they have pirated songs and the service gets a subpoena to disclose all xml files? What if I only want updates on some artists I like and not the ones I hate and regret buying their CD? Does the XML file have DRM keys in it that I will be inadvertently disclosing? If not where are those things kept anyway? How often do I get emails? How can I unsubscribe? How can I tell it to stop sending emails about a given group?

A service I would probably like would be one where I could type in names of groups I actually like and get emails when they release a new album. This may even be a complementary function to the "everything all at once without distinction" feature on the beathound site.

Fair enough. When you select a file, you want to upload your iTunes Music Library.xml file - this is a paste of a small one: https://gist.github.com/d61db3dcfd07ad093abf. It doesn't look like there are any DRM keys, but if you're worried about your privacy I could theoretically figure out how iTunes is organizing your music for you. It doesn't look like there are any DRM keys in there, but I will keep investigating.

I'm working on improving filtering for artists you hate.

If you really don't want to upload your XML file, It sounds like http://www.albumreminder.com/ might be more up your alley for now. Thanks for the feedback!

If you're wondering what personal and private information is in "iTunes Music Library.xml", couldn't you open it up and look for yourself?

"What happens if a bunch of users have information in that file that they have pirated songs and the service gets a subpoena to disclose all xml files?"

Whoa, with absolutely zero knowledge of the .xml file, you just jumped 100 steps ahead to some hypothetical situation where this website will incriminate its users. Loosen up your tinfoil hat a little bit...

You're asking a ton of questions about a service that is obviously just starting out, and is probably not feature complete yet. Did you actually use the site, and can you provide any comments on how well the site actually does what it advertises? If not, your comment just seems like a lot of bikeshedding:



Yes, droithomme (GP), please do not share your thoughts on a project which was listed here specifically for you to do so.

On second thought, thanks for bringing up your concerns. It certainly seems that in order for this tool to become a success for users like you it will have to deal with these types of issues carefully.

Edit to add: I want to stress the near infinite value that the HN crowd brings to the table whatever they say about any new site. Considering the vast majority of passers by even on HN will not comment at all, anything discouraging anyone from doing so seems to be more damaging than any negative comment.

This sounds like a great list of FAQ questions that could be added

Not even an FAQ. The interface itself could use some redesigning to make these things more obvious.

Assuming this is to be used by non-techies, no one is going to know what or even where an 'iTunes XML file' is. A "What's this?" link next to the upload button with some sort of tool tip or modal showing where the file can be found will go a long way. I didn't find the "Trouble finding your library?" link at the bottom until after writing this comment.

I was also confused about entering an email. From what it looks like, I either upload my XML file or I enter my email to sign up for updates. It needs to be more clear that it's all one inclusive form. (Or even better, don't require an email. Revisiting beathound.com in a reasonable amount of time should preserve your session and give you a scanning update along with the option to sign up for future alerts.)

From what I understand, you upload your file and enter your email, and get your report by email, maybe it should say that.

The "Select File.." button label would make more sense as "Upload your iTunes XML file" instead of expecting the user to read the entirety of the text above or to click the equally confusing "What have I missed?" button, which I assumed was a changelog but was really to pop up the helper text.

Thanks for the heads up - I'll be deploying the change shortly.

agree with this comment

A service I can recommend is https://muspy.com/ . You enter your favorite interprets and get an email when they release a new single or album.

Why would I want to create an account and then manually enter in my favourite artists?

Because you're not using iTunes. I don't. I agree it's not the best experience ever, but it's a great solution for people like me using small music players (Pragha) that will never be supported by services like this.

It seems to let you load artists from your last.fm and facebook profile, as well as manual entry.

Cool - thanks for the link!

Nice idea, would use it if adapted for last.fm.

Your survey contains "FooBar" as a listening option - assume this should not be on there ?

I second the motion for last.fm support.

1) it's easier than uploading my XML file which is currently on another computer

2) you can recommend music based on a window of time ... for example recently I've been super interested in EDM (dance music and remixes) but if you look at my entire iTunes library (~80GB of music) what i'm currently super interested in is only a small percentage of that. So, it would be cool to see "what would I like to be listening to based on what I have been listening to for the last 6 months

3) You get access to my data indefinitely (more or less) and can re-run the algorithm on my account at your own leisure ... every day, every week, etc...

Music discovery has always been huge in my mind. I LOVE music and cannot really go a day without it. If i'm working, you better believe I have earbuds in and i'm listening to something. I'm always on the prowl for new stuff.

Recommendations according to the number of plays you've had on a track would be great too.

I was surprised too, but it is actually a music player that some of my early testers use: http://www.foobar2000.org/.

foobar2000 is one of the best music players on Windows (though like antihero said, it's unfortunately not available for Linux). I'm surprised you haven't heard of it.

I'll check this out, thanks

Wow - I totally thought it was something you'd been using to test the survey and left in place when going live :)

A fantastic one, too. Unfortunately not on Linux, though.

Probably the single program I miss the most on Linux. I've never been able to find an acceptable replacement.

I use MPD + ncmpcpp/ario, and then Picard for tagging. It works pretty well, and I can do a bunch of stuff I couldn't do with Foobar2000, too, such as controlling my music via an app on my phone.

Was just going to say the same thing. Very lightweight, skinnable (via css + html).

I'd also like to try it out if it could use my last.fm history since I've been switching platforms and players a lot but I was always scrobbling all the songs.

But anyways, very cool idea :)

Last.fm has similar built-in functionality:


Well done. This really works. The first recommendation was an instant purchase. So far I have spend £15.

Please consider two things: email alerts. I'f happily be spammed every time a new album from my most-played artists was released.

A monthly-spend-automatic-buy. I'd risk $20 a month to wake up to new music.

Oh. And it took me straight to the US shop despite me being a British customer. I take it the country code isn't in the iTunes.xml. Perhaps a country selector is needed on sign-up.

Right now the plan is to email you max once a week - most of my early users hated email, so it was a matter of finding a balance between "I am putting something in your inbox" and "I am doing my best to not annoy you". Once a week seemed best for now.

This is my first time testing with an international audience - sounds like there's some work to do on country selection. Thanks for the feedback!

FWIW, I spent a while trying to figure out how to pronounce "beathound" ("beath - ound"? "bea - thound"?). I eventually figured it's supposed to be "beat" + "hound" (right?).

As annoying as it can sometimes be, maybe this would be a good time to use camelcase ("BeatHound"), or perhaps just style the text to use a different color for the two words.

I would think that this is very much an outlier response, I can't imagine anyone that's in anyway familiar with the English language having any trouble working out how this is supposed to be pronounced, except ke n here [sic]

You know, I had a tester point out to me that this could be a problem - this is what I get for thinking he was nuts. Thanks for pointing this out.

I won't claim I'm not nuts, but on the internet, you probably have to assume that a decent number of potential users are nuts, and design accordingly. :-)

Many simple obstacles that can be cleared up easily is worth doing :)

Had the same problem.

"You can add your favorite artists one-by-one or make use of one of Album Reminder's powerful importers."

Thanks that one is really cool, the one-by-one option is the right amount of disclosure for me.

Well, I have created this a while ago: http://qusic.co.uk It tracks currently only spotify stuff, but you can import your artists from SongKick. Any feedback / suggestions highly appreciated.

Cool - but if you're tracking things on Spotify, why do I need a Songkick account in order to import my artists? Does Spotify's API not do this for you?

You could only create an import building a proper spotify app. Songkick was the easiest to implement quickly.

This is awesome. It's already found me a handful of new albums from artists I like.

Yes - this genuinely is excellent. I've already bought two albums (first I've got for years) and am really enjoying stepping through the results. Great stuff!

Yeah, me too! I am very impressed. :D

(Hope you're getting some affiliation cash, OP, I'd be happy to throw that your way given the usefulness of this!)

I feel like official music releases are too slow to the game. Kind of like BandsInTown or SongKick, by the time you find out they're in town it's too late and tickets are sold out. You have to rely on social media like FB/Twitter for instant knowledge.

For releases, http://hypem.com is the way to go. Blogs will discover new releases way before anyone and you'll discover them through hypem.

I think this kind of service would be valuable to me just to find related or similar artists that I might not have heard of before -- if new music wasn't the sole focus

This is a pretty cool solution; although I am getting a LOT of false positives. Could that have something to do with my hand-tagged MP3s?

(shameless plug) I made a new album notification tool for Last.FM focused on easily excluding non-important artists a while back: http://releasification.frapp.it

Hand-tagged MP3s are a problem, but it looks like I have some bugs in my scanning logic that are creating more false positives than I'd like. I've been collecting library.xml files to try and track it down - if you want to help out, send yours to luke@creaturecreative.com.

I don't see any kind of privacy policy link on the site, could one be added spelling out how the email address will be used?

Yes - I need to do this. For now I can just spell it out: I will only use your email address to send you 1) an email when your library has been scanned, 2) an email maximum once a week when I find new releases from artists in your library, and 3) an email when there are recommendations for you to check out (if you opt in to receiving recommendations).

I have added this to my priority list - thanks.

I've stubbed in a quick one for now: http://beathound.com/privacy.

Nice use of bootstrap and changing things up so it doesn't look like a default bootstrap site.

No last.fm integration?

Not yet, but it's on my list.

Excellent. I'm sure I'm not the only one on hacker news who doesn't use iTunes.

If there's anything I've learned today, it's been that people really like Spotify, and tend to send their information to last.fm. All the feedback is definitely helping me organize my list.

Can't wait for that. Currently waiting results from my gfs Itunes xml file.

This is very similar to a service I built several years ago with a different concept: http://ilikebsides.com

Reminds me a lot of http://www.crapimissedit.com/ which is unfortunately shuttered now.

The "Select File" button does not work for me on Firefox 15.0.1 / OSX 10.8.2 while it does when I use Chrome, bug or deliberate choice?

Bug - that's what I get for trying to style a file input. Try clicking just to the left or right of it.

I hit the same problem, then fired up IE to try to get around it. Didn't work there either...unless you double click. I'd have given up if I'd not seen this comment!

The other thing that is rather confusing is that having selected the file, it's not clear how to proceed. I eventually clicked 'What have I missed' which seems to actually be 'I've not missed anything please click this button' - I think this could be better worded to just 'Go' or something similar once the file is selected.

Good point - I've changed it to 'Analyze'.

Thank you, I am now waiting for my results :)

Important Note: it seems that Gmail detects beathound results as a spam.

Cool idea!

From a privacy perspective -- what info can you glean from someone's library file? (other than the obvious artist/track information)

Here's a paste of a small library.xml file: https://gist.github.com/d61db3dcfd07ad093abf

Looking at it quickly, I can get some idea of how your filesystem is laid out (or at least how iTunes thinks it is), as well as probably guessing your username on your computer if you haven't changed your music path. Doesn't look like much more than that.

Looking at my own iTunes library, the names of some of my playlists actually leak quite a bit of private information.

the iphone app "nomis" does this well: http://www.nomisapp.com/

What's the data source for this?

The iTunes store for now. Future sources are last.fm, Amazon, Insound, and eMusic.

Any plans to support MusicBrainz? That would seem like the obvious choice :)

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