Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
ITunes 11 and Colors (panic.com)
266 points by thisisblurry on Dec 11, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 113 comments

I do love that feature. I developed something like this a couple years ago for a back office part of a project:


I don't have a good example of the project any longer, but I took a few snapshots during the development process. My test page allowed you to upload a logo and have the page dynamically change to match the new logo. The link above is a gallery of a few of my tests.

Sometimes it did a pretty good job. Other times the results were a little more 'meh.'

The original code was pretty hacked together in PHP and a little client side JS, though I've been considering resurrecting it as a ruby gem.

There was a bug in the code in one of these examples. The 5th image or so is of a tornado with a bright orange background. The code failed to select the orange as an interesting color to use. The result still looks fine but I would have liked for it to have sampled that bit as well. It's been long enough that I can't recall what the exact problem was.

Very cool. Here's my attempt at it, which uses the JS library Color Thief: http://thomaspark.me/project/expandingalbums/

Very nice! That color thief library would have made my work a lot easier.

Here's the process I did without pasting my embarrassingly hacky code:

* Accepted image from user

* Quantized the image down to 6 main colors (I forget how I arrived at this figure.)

* Slapped it on a canvas

* Generated a color histogram

* Converted RGB to HSB

* Did a border check of the image to determine the background color. Extended the border based on most common background color if needed.

* Looked at the saturation of the colors to determine what might be interesting to use. Picked a primary and secondary color from that.

* From there I converted each of the color to YIQ to determine contrast levels to determine if I needed lighter or darker colors for the text.

* Generated some "accent" colors by modifying lightness levels of some of the primary and secondary colors.

From there I pretty much had the things I needed to make something theme-like.

Thanks for posting this. I enjoyed reading over the code. You also reminded me that I need to ditch my crappy JS tempting library that I wrote and switch to moustache.

Until just recently I was an iTunes power user. I have a 15 year old 80gb collection of pirated music - all full albums, all with pristine metadata and personalized genres. I do not have cover art tho, but I don't really care - until now.

iTunes 11 makes a big deal about cover art - their UI is nearly exclusively dependent on it. I don't like thumbnails.

When I look at my music, I want a big sortable list. I don't want a bunch of random (alphabetized) tiles that don't tell me much. Also - electronic music of today is largely post-album. It doesn't make sense to organize a bunch of remixes by different DJ by album cover.

The previous version of iTunes had a hybrid view that had a sorted list with a small thumbnail to the left. It was useful because the thumbnails would scroll nicely with the text.

But no longer as far as I can tell.

The whole idea of curating my own collection, through either piracy or purchasing, seems outmoded to me. It's expensive even when it's free. Pirating music, at least at scale, is time consuming. iTunes is ridiculously expensive. My music collection would cost me $20k if I bought it and it feels woefully inadequate when I try find something to listen to.

I just recently backed up my music collection and deleted it from my HD. I've signed up for Spotify Premium and am so far pleased.

$10 is very fair (a bit high, but fair). The quality is consistent, I can save songs and playlists to my devices (feels like buying) and create radio stations that are functionally superior to Pandora (skipping, etc) but algorithmically inferior (try getting it to play Louis Armstrong style music and see how long it takes to play modern music, for me it's two tracks regardless of downvotes).

Music discovery is just as important as curation, and Spotify scratches both itches. The iOS apps are buggy but so far it's working. I'm happy to leave iTunes behind. That said, I really loved SmartPlaylists. SmartPlaylists + Accurate Genres + Ratings = Powerful, Granular Track Syncing. It's just too time consuming, and now hard to manage with new emphasis on cover art.

I hope you don't really think that $10 is "bit high, but fair". Spotify is horrible for artists and pays them next to nothing. Assuming you fully own the rights to your music it takes 232,000 plays per month just to make minimum wage for a single artist [1]. Now consider that Spotify, and similar streaming services, are losing money hand over fist and it's obvious this model can not last [2].

Personally I put Spotify at the same tier as piracy. I mean that not in terms of morals or ethics but in regards to the viability of the industry. If you want to copy all music ever recorded that's fine, go for it. We're almost all guilty to some extent. If however you'd like to see new music created in the future then you owe it to yourself to compensate the artists you enjoy.

The most dangerous thing about Spotify is that people genuinely believe listening to a few ads an hour or paying a mere $10/month is enough to support the industry they love.

[1] http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2012/120730infamou... [2] http://www.businessinsider.com/spotify-revenue-2012-10

I know a couple musicians, some of them earn enough to survive thanks to their art, most don't.

I know that if I had talent I could create and distribute an album on my laptop and distribute it globally. We used to pay record labels for this. Now we pay them to stand in the way of artists and their fans.

Regardless, musicians don't really make money from people listening to their music and never really have - unless you're talking about A-listers, but since we're talking about starving artists we're probably not talking about Metallica and Katy Perry.

Musicians make money from playing live - even all electronic musicians like Deadmau5. Most electronic musicians give their music away on Soundcloud and then tour to make money.

This is the future of the industry. The problem is it just doesn't leave a lot of room for record labels. This is something that no one will miss...

"Musicians make money from playing live... This is the future of the industry."

I see this sentiment repeated often. I don't buy it. It seems like a better way to put it is that if musicians are going to make money at all, then it must come from live performance. It certainly won't come from recordings, because more and more consumers don't want to pay for recordings, regardless of the practices of major labels, who have always been irrelevant to the majority of practicing musicians anyway.

I have only anecdotal data to back myself up with, but of the independent musicians I know, most of them lose money or make trivial earnings from live performance. They do it because they find it rewarding, to be sure, but they're not doing it for money. And touring is usually mutually exclusive with a sustainable day job.

Remember - music existed before money. Selling recorded performances is relatively new - how long have records been around? I doubt the first users of the tech in the early 1900s spent enough on records to support any type of professional musician, let alone create Lady Gaga like stars.

Yet, somehow, there have been professional musicians for likely thousands of years.

Record companies solved the distribution problem. The Internet proved them obsolete and for the next few years they'll continue their death rattle until they blossom into something that looks like Spotify (which is replacing radio as well), or someone else will fill their shoes (as Spotify is doing today).

And then no one will care about programs designed to put lipstick on my 80gb mp3 pig as iTunes does... Unless they roll out their own all you can eat service :)

    >Remember - music existed before money. Selling recorded performances is relatively new
You're conflating two different phenomenon here. Music may have existed before money, however, RECORDED distributable music did not. If you had to pay the opportunity cost associated with seeing a live performance every time you wanted to listen to music your argument would hold water.

> music existed before money

?? Before money, artists still needed food and shelter...

> Yet, somehow, there have been professional musicians for likely thousands of years.

But does anyone really want to go back to the patronage system?

I want to go back to the system where musicians are not rock stars trying to sell you a product, they are ordinary people with a day job who enjoy making and sharing music for their own entertainment.

We don't demand this of any other profession yet musicians should have a day job and make music for the love of it? I want to go back to the system where musicians were rewarded with money to put invest into their next project. Maybe I'm old fashioned but I don't think Spotify nor Pandora are the answer. My musician friends feel like it's the new Payola. They don't like to be on there because the royalties on 1000 plays is not even worth the postage. Yet, they can't afford not to be there because so many other musicians and listeners are using it.

We don't demand this of any other profession yet musicians should have a day job and make music for the love of it?

Nobody is demanding anything of artists; it's artists (well, mostly labels, but also some artists) that are demanding monopolies from society.

¿Que? I'm not even sure how to interpret this statement. Monopolies of what exactly?

Monopolies over the creations.

Thomas Jefferson's proposal for the Amendment that granted copyright and patents was:

  Art. 9. Monopolies may be allowed to persons for their own productions
  in literature and their own inventions in the arts for a term
  not exceeding — years but for no longer term and no other purpose.
Madison, on the other hand, wrote:

  Monopolies, though in certain cases useful, ought to be granted with caution,
  and guarded with strictness against abuse. The Constitution of the United
  States has limited them to two cases--the authors of books, and of useful
  inventions (...)

The ridiculous copyright extensions pushed for by the mafiAA? Ridiculous suits against network printers, computer illiterate grandmas, and children, sometimes for more than the GDP of the entire world?

Your favourite authors and artists have day jobs.

Why should musicians be any different?

> "I want to go back to the system where [musicians] are ordinary people with a day job who enjoy making and sharing music for their own entertainment"

I am not sure this system ever existed, and I would be sad if it did. People have been writing music as their 'day job' since the 16th Century - the difference was their salaries were being paid by patrons rather than the general public.

A system where musicians have to spend 8 hours a day on a 'day job' rather than spending time improving their craft, composing, and playing doesn't sound like a very good system to me.

I don't care if they have a day job or not; but I don't want rock stars selling a product either, which is why I don't think artists making money only through concerts/t-shirts/crowdfunding is a good idea. iTunes and Spotify don't care if an artist is introverted or not.

Right now, with the social media and all this stuff, I find myself buying more music than ever. I never liked physical formats, I remember having MP2 audio files of all my favorite music and hating tapes and then CDs.

Last month I drop almost 40$ on a digital music compilation from an artist I like. He was selling it directly from his Facebook. It's not the first time and it wont be the last. He's selling some vinyls right now and just released the test presses on eBay. I don't even know if this guy has a record label or not, but he tours and probably edits all by himself.

I don't think playing live will be the only way musicians can make money (and a lot of them make dimes playing live as the promoters -usually the labels!- take all the money too).

You don't need to drop 10K month on studio anymore, you only need some equipment (that can be rented) and a computer to edit your music. Even some big bands are doing it this way nowadays.

> Musicians make money from playing live

It might be good advice economically, but IMHO it is also a tendency worth fighting, because it is so obviously unfair and limiting. What about artists (or genres!) that suck at giving live concerts? How do I vote with my wallet if I have no time for concerts - but listen to music all day?

Bizarrely, soundtracks seem to have come to my rescue (for some genres) - where artists receive a one-time payment to make solid music, but then slap it onto iTunes where I can throw in a few extra $$$.

>How do I vote with my wallet if I have no time for concerts - but listen to music all day?

Buy t-shirts, etc

I hate this line of thought with a passion. So if your talent happens to be musical you're only hope for a remotely related career is to be a loss leader for niche retail?

Plus if you're just taking stock shirt and putting your bands name on them then you're little better than a pan handler begging for money. People are only buying your outrageously priced shirts to keep you playing music. Why can't we just pay artists for their contribution to society instead of "pretend buying" their overpriced t-shirts?

There are lots of ways that artists could hypothetically be compensated and things will probably change a lot over the next 5-10 years. Right now, though, pretend buying overpriced t-shirts is one way to get money to musicians without going to concerts. Free idea for musicians: I'd pay to subscribe to webcasts of practice sessions.

> I'd pay to subscribe to webcasts of practice sessions.

...which people will then rip and upload (just like the music itself)? That sounds like a very circular model.

But most people have no need for dozens of over priced low quality t-shirt with some amateur graphic design scrawled all over it. Sure I could buy them to throw away simply as a round about way to donate money, but there must be a better business model out there.

How about artists with a following ask for crowdfunding for their next project.

Puts a lot of burden on the consumer. Background checks; does this artist the potential to deliver good music again? Does the album's concept sound good? Which of the dozens of artists I know are asking for funding? (Not even to think about discovery) Also brings us back to the model of paying for a whole album rather than just the good parts of it.

I have backed exactly one kickstarter project (I think $50) and it was more email friction than all my iTunes purchases combined (maybe $1000?).

Who the fuck would wear a Cecillia Bartoli or Yo-Yo Ma t-shirt?

Market it right and a Cecillia Bartoli t-shirt will become the must have hipster fashion item for spring 2013.

I found that a lot of punk bands will just put their music on bandcamp or release it for free with the message to buy if you enjoy. Since it's released digitally they aren't losing money on distribution, but only on time spent.

I know that if I had talent I could create and distribute an album on my laptop and distribute it globally. We used to pay record labels for this. Now we pay them to stand in the way of artists and their fans.

Not just that, though. They also do promotion. How am I going to find out about your album?

YouTube, Soundcloud, activity sharing on streaming services, live shows, music blogs, your friends.

Do you really decide what bands you like from ads and the radio?

You talk as if your way is fundamentally different. In both cases someone is curating what kind of music you hear for you because there are far too many bands to hear them all. The question is just who is making the selection for you.

According to Spotify, they are cutting a fair deal with labels, who are then screwing over the artists. But the full numbers are not available, so it is tough to say. I think the idea that streaming music will destroy the music industry is a bit extreme.


Screwing over the artists is absolutely nothing new for the music industry. I wonder what percentage of musicians made minimum wage or above under the old model?

If I consider myself, I've never spent even half of the 120€ a year on music as I now do with Spotify. I'm fairly sure that my case isn't that uncommon with others of my generation, born in 80s or later. A big part of this generation has never gotten into buying music and it seems Spotify is a way to get at least some revenue from us. Nobody outside Spotify and the labels owning it knows the exact details of their finances, but I doubt they're going to disappear, at least not the business model. Otherwise our generation just goes back to pirating.

Exactly. With music you pay for distribution. $10 to stream me a large catalog for a month is good. $10 for 14 tracks is not good.

I don't think anyone (with the possible exception of the Spotify marketing department) thinks that Spotify will be the savior of the music industry. Most popular artists know this. Popular artists like Radiohead, Taylor Swift, or Arcade Fire either distribute only a portion of their work on Spotify, or distribute it with a delay.

And Spotify is better than piracy for record labels. (i) Spotify provides useful data for labels (at least those that have an ownership stake in Spotify), (ii) the revenue, in aggregate, is not insignificant and certainly better than revenue from piracy (again this benefits the labels with ownership stakes), and (iii) gives them a measure of messaging control.

Essentially, Spotify is marketing channel for major labels.

A lot of the trash talking about Spotify is poorly researched.

See: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4834767

What I don't get though is why doesn't spotify pick a more sustainable subscription price. I guess there is the issue of less sustainable competitors. I would be happy to pay at least double, that would be a vast collection of music vs 2 albums a month.

I would assume because their goal is not to create a sustainable business model but to grow a massive user base and sell/IPO for >$1 billion.

Spotify is good for popular music. But try being classical/opera fan and using Spotify. Though I hear it's getting better.

I have a 120GB music library in iTunes. And most of it was ripped from CD's. I'm not happy about iTunes 11 due to Cover Flow an DJ being dropped (I liked both) and - I don't know, maybe I'll give Spotify another go.

To be fair, classical music suffers in general when it comes to availability.

For two months I was looking for 8 CD box set of 'The Budapest String Quartet Plays Beethoven' to be available anywhere as a download. I had to resort to buying the box set, ripping it and fixing the tags myself. I paid far less than I would have but I paid it back in hours of getting everything right.

That had nothing at all to do with the submission. Why the hell did you feel inspired to write this? I don’t get it. It seems like a fairly detailed description of your fairly niche needs that are hard to generalize in any real way. Neither useful nor really interesting.

Other than admitting to piracy, his needs sound like the same as anyone with a music collection of any realistic size. I struggle with many of the same issues around the emphasis on the "album cover" as the unit of organization in 11, so I don't think it's as niche as you make it sound.

Agreed that it's a step away from the top level submission however.

It's a personal preference, and it's still possible to pick a list view with no album art in iTunes 11. I often have a visual recollection of album covers, be it singles or whole albums as well as physical location (if it's real singles).

It's not really only albums that gains from album art, singles with remixes would still have a cover which I vastly prefer myself as compared to a blank square.

Still it's a critique of iTunes as such, while the submission is related to generating color themes from an image algorithmically.

Most people buy/pirate music that has album covers or can easily be organized around album covers. iTunes is pretty good about giving even a library with pretty horrible metadata decent covers.

Plus: There is the artist view. I don’t see the emphasis on album covers. The artist view is just as (if not more) competent and it’s not at all based around the album cover.

Depends on how you do things. I make sure to always grab album art for my music, and I remember the art. Despite having thousands of albums, I can identify most by the artwork. I also tend to listen to one album at a time. For my needs, iTunes 11 is almost perfect

The biggest flaw for me is that they got rid of the composer view, which makes quickly finding classical music vastly more difficult. Stupid, annoying omission.

To me it had everything to do with the original submission.

The author was showing off something he made because he was really inspired by the new iTunes, which for me was the nail in the coffin in regards to my previous methods for listening to and curating music.

If its not interesting or offensive there's a downvotenbutton right there :)

I love that $10 for monthly access to basically every album ever on demand is "a bit high". I remember dropping $16 a pop on CDs/Tapes at Tower Records back in the day, probably bought at least two a month...

In terms of your issue with iTunes cover art, didn't they announce some thing where you pay a flat fee and is basically matches all of your illegal music with legal one when iCloud was introduced (I never tried it just remember the keynote vaguely)

You're recalling iTunes Match, the service which allows you to upload/match your iTunes library and access it across multiple devices. This service is $25/year.

However, you can have iTunes download album art (even for albums you've imported and haven't bought through iTunes) for free. You can just select every song in your library and the right-click and choose "Get Album Artwork" or something like that. It works decently for music you have somewhat accurately tagged (at least a correct artist and album name). Again, this fails for a lot of electronic music though.

...no...he's probably referring to any other streaming music service, where you do get access to almost every album/song, like Spotify.


Yeah, see the guy he replied to. He's referring to Spotify Premium.

"Again, this fails for a lot of electronic music though."

It also fails for classical music. But since I ripped CD's I just scanned in the cover and added the art. Trust me, it was time consuming. But there is hope, iTunes has added much more classical/opera recently. So changes are, if I had to do this all over - a lot of the art would be available from iTunes.

In my collection, The album art matcher is quite bad. Stuff that's tagged correctly and well known (e.g. Led Zeppelin) comes up with the wrong (but related) image. Where it really falls down are compilations, I think it's running about a 20% hit rate on those.

Yeah, I think it's incredible that he thinks $10 is too high. Perhaps he means '$10 is too high for a limited and poorly organised music selction'.

I would have no problem paying double that each month for Spotify, and upwards of 3-5 times that if it had a music catalogue and organisation structure similar to iTunes. Granted, I value music more than many people, but $10 is what a cheap lunch costs, for unlimited music on demand.

Spotify's interface really sucks, have you checked out Rdio or Rhapsody?

I have iTunes Match a shot - it was ok but it didn't get all of my music fixed and it didn't change any of the fundamental issues I have with the whole workflow.

Find artist Download/buy albums Listen to songs, rate, put in playlists Sync to devices (this it solved)

When someone casually states that he has an "80gb collection of pirated music," I assume he feels that the act of copying contrary to the wishes of the copyright holder is either a good thing or, at worst, ethically neutral.

For those of us who disagree with this idea, it is important call out instances that seem to minimize the significance of this. By remaining silent, we help encourage behavior we disagree with.

Opinions differ. Strategies for reforming copyright differ. But I think the issue is important enough that people who think it's OK to ignore copyrights en masse should be explicit about their beliefs. Is your opinion that:

1. Copyrights are bogus. I should be able to copy anything I get my hands on. 2. Copyrights are good if they benefit licenses such as the GPL. Copyrights are bad if they benefit big record companies. 3. Copyrights should apply to books. Copyrights should not apply to music or software.

My opinion is that there are many aspects of current copyright laws that I would like to see changed, but that generally current laws should be followed unless they rise to a level of evilness that calls for civil disobedience, a principled and public decision to disobey the law in an attempt to get the law changed. I also think that the benefit of the doubt should be given to the author of a creative work as to their wishes for the copying of the product of their work. Personal convenience or being a cheapskate are not, I believe, sufficient reasons to fail to pay for the copyrighted materials that you have obtained.

I think that our pricing models for media are vestigial remnants of an era that suffered from a distribution problem.

When I buy a $15 kindle ebook that is from a publishing house vs a $2 kindle ebook that is self published, I have a sense that the artist in both instances gets a similar amount of money - that is to say, the publishing house is what is making that book expensive.

Same with music. The cost of production and distribution is close to zero, with a hobbyist grade audio set up and a laptop one could produce an album the same as anyone else and with decades old P2P software distribute it for free to the globe.

So when artists sell their art for a fair price - $2/3 for an ebook, $4/5 for an album, I'll buy it. When prices go beyond that its usually because a big distributor is involved and I don't mind just pirating the content.

Same with TV. I pay for Netflix and Hulu and I go to theaters. If you withhold your content from those services, or it doesn't warrant a $40 theatre experience, I just pirate it. Also, sometimes I want to watch some TV shows on the go, so I'll pirate something available via Hulu and store it on a device for later consumption.

So really it has nothing to do with copyright, just that I feel that their pricing is out of control and piracy has been made mainstream and easy enough that I don't mind piracy to fill in the gaps to the services I subscribe to.

Why are you the judge of a fair price?

Also if you disagree with the price, just don't buy it. It doesn't give you the moral justification to pirate it, at least admit that.

It is disingenuous to say it has nothing to do with copyright. Copyright is the law your are ignoring when you decide to pirate it because the price is too high.

I presume that if you feel able to opt-out of that law that you wouldn't mind if I opted out of laws designed to protect your interests if I find them inconvenient.

I don't what's worse about your comment - that you seem to think that there is nothing wrong with having pirated music, that you admit to having done so in a public forum, or that you are so blasé about it that you did so with your (presumably) real name.

I wonder where people like you draw the line at such behavior. Why is music any different than TV Shows? Or Movies? Or eBooks? Would you feel comfortable "pirating" all those as well? Hell, why not go all the way and pirate software as well - presumably that has no protection from your urges to accumulate.

I often wonder, under what moral authority, other than "It was really easy and I wasn't caught and/or punished for doing it" people feel comfortable "pirating" other people's intellectual property.

I wonder where people like you draw the line at such behavior. Why is music any different than TV Shows? Or Movies? Or eBooks? Would you feel comfortable "pirating" all those as well? Hell, why not go all the way and pirate software as well

A lot of people do all these things- I thought that was relatively well known. Not that I am condoning it, but if we're talking about drawing the line... it's very far away from where you're discussing it. I suspect it lies somewhere near "is a real physical item".

>I thought that was relatively well known

I find that most HN contributors are well-off, don't make too many movies/songs and contribute under their real name. Put those facts together and you can easily get a hivemind reaction of "piracy is extremely evil with zero justification ever for anyone".

Weird, I have the exact opposite impression, I always thought the common HN hivemind mentality was EXTREMELY pro piracy, usually rationalized with one of the following justifications:

1. "I wasn't going to buy it anyway so the author isn't losing a sale"

2. Zero incremental cost!

3. "If I like it I'll eventually maybe buy it" (if only I could use that defense after stealing a Porsche)

4. Paul Graham's oddball (in my opinion at least) "stealing the smells" re-imagining of property. [http://www.paulgraham.com/property.html]

5. They should just sell T-shirts/concert tickets/support plans instead 6. Art must be performed for free, otherwise it's commercial crap

I think whether HN is pro piracy depends very much on which comment thread you look at: If "DRM" is part of the title, the mood will be very different from "Show HN: My New Book", in my experience...

Ah, the old "piracy is not stealing because nothing is taken from the owner" card. To be fair, I don't see it often in HN- on Reddit, however...

I have illegally downloaded music, movies and tv shows for more than half of my life. I was using HotWire and 14.4 modems. This is my real name. I don't really care...

Look at the size of the original iPod. It would cost tens of thousands of dollars to fill one of those up with legal music. How many iPods have been sold?

The music industry has been dealing with institutional piracy since the Internet became mainstream.

I'm not him, but I'm from Sweden, where even people who work in television have tweeted "I love mondays!" with a instagram photo of a torrent client window of american TV shows[1] (that won't come to Sweden for a year at least, if at all). He got reprimanded, but only by colleagues because he actually worked in media. Media piracy is completely normalized.

[1] http://www.dagensmedia.se/nyheter/tv/article3586732.ece (swedish)

...It is pretty easy to normalise piracy of media that's coming entirely from a different continent. I bet the Chinese aren't losing much sleep when they download Hollywood movies either.

>I often wonder, under what moral authority, other than "It was really easy and I wasn't caught and/or punished for doing it" people feel comfortable "pirating" other people's intellectual property.

I would guess that's because me, a good deal of my friends, both online and in real life, and a number of acquaintances (YMMV) consider "intellectual property" to be a rather unintuitive (and by extension, stupid, not deserving of respect, and many other similar terms) concept.

No respect, no "moral authority" required.

The actions of industry lobbies which are acting, ostensibly, at the behest of its members, are not serving to increase that respect. An institution which society at large does not respect is doomed to fail.

See also speed limit laws on any major highway in the USA. Sure there's a law, but it's enforced haphazardly, most people have no respect for it as a law, (indeed, studies would suggest people drive at a comfortable speed for them regardless of what the sign says), and we're a better society for it.

You could make the same argument for piracy, given the use of sampling in the music business, to the revelation that pirates actually buy more media than non pirates, and quite possibly others I could think up were I not fresh out of bed.

The whole idea of curating my own collection, through either piracy or purchasing, seems outmoded to me.

Interesting perspective but personally that doesn't work for me. I am not hung up on owning a physical item like a record or CD but I am hung up on having a space where these records I love all live together. There are no un-inivted outsiders. Every record in the collection has a story. Collecting them together and presenting them in a beautiful way is exactly what I want. I do use other services for music discovery but anything new I find doesn't touch my library until it has proven itself to be worthy to sit next to my favorites. I'm very weary of digital overload these days. For the first time in many years I've actually gone through my library and started to remove records I don't actually love. I'm making the choice to segment my musical world into what I consider to be the essentials and to everything else that I may like but don't really care much about. If they could be nicely combined into one platform that would work for me too but the first time I couldn't find one of my favorite records on Spotify I realized it would never be an iTunes replacement for me. (also going forward it's not clear all existing music available on any of these services will always be there. That's very troubling to me)

Spotify is great, but my main concern with it is it is not profitable yet - far from it actually. So they could either go away at some point, or do draconian things that will make the experience too unpleasant to continue. So I'm not quite willing to rely on it yet.

The funny thing is that the very first thing I did when I first fired up this iTunes version was return it to the track listing view. I did not even discover this color-matching feature until I saw it in Hacker News today!

I am fearing a possible transition from iOS to Android because I'd be dropping SmartPlaylists... from what I gather though there are options. I just hope they're as good.

I lived by SmartPlaylists. I basically ended up just dragging and dropping them into Spotify, thus making them static DumbPlaylists.

With a Spotify-like service I doubt you'll miss them, tho.

This is a really good copy. You appealed to the develop base of this site and made it sound like something other than a press release.

I took the liberty of extracting the interesting bits of this into a reusable class, and tossed it up on GitHub:


If I have the time this afternoon, I'll port it over to iOS, too. Or, if someone feels inclined to do so, I welcome pull requests :)

Edit: and I transferred the repo over to Panic. I'm maintaining a fork so the link above doesn't go dead.

Isn't something like this done for the Windows >=7 taskbar icons too? Only for a single color, though.

Similarly Windows 8 can change the desktop theme's colour to match the wallpaper.

Good job "emulating" the iTunes algorithm. Request to op: It would have been good to have some sample code inline in the article that illustrated the algorithm. I know there's an Xcode project attached, but reading this on an iPad has its limitations.

Some pictures would have helped too, considering not everyone has iTunes, and it's an article about a visual feature. OP could have tried out the new Gist to display code too

Edit: I meant pictures of the existing Apple implementation to see what they were on about. I see the pictures of their algorithm but it makes no sense to talk about the comparison when there's nothing to compare to

Something similar to this was done at my old job, about four years ago. It took images that were not square and padding out the shorter dimension with an averaged colour from the edge. It looks like so:


Sometimes it works well, other times it really doesn't. But it's an interesting idea- and certainly not a new one (though Apple has certainly done it better)

What is this? A png for ants? ;)

Hah, yes, it's a bad example. I couldn't remember how to grab a larger size, but now I remember. Here's a 150px example:


ahh, much better! Thanks! I'm assuming the top section was the generated content on it, correct?

And the bottom. That you didn't notice is a testament to how well it works... sometimes :)

As someone without iTunes, what does iTunes do now? There are no screenshots/videos in this article.

The album view displays a color scheme based on the album artwork. The results vary from good to great, I haven't encountered any poor examples of it's application.

You can see an example here: http://daringfireball.net/misc/2012/12/itunes-11-expanded-vi...

The text, background and highlight colors are based on on the album artwork.

I see plenty of poor ones, but you could attribute at least half of those cases to all the 70s and 80s prog/psych/metal I've got now.

Here is a screenshot utilizing the colors of the album art: http://d.pr/i/st40 (Please don't judge my taste of music ;) As you can see it also removes the border from the album art to blend it with the color.

It's a music manager you're forced to use on Apple hardware. It's awful for everything except automating what music goes on the device for those who don't care about what they listen to.

That's not quite what the poster is asking for.

The poster said:

As someone without iTunes, what does iTunes do now?

Context is very important in understanding human speech.

It's also a store front for buying mp3s.

This reminds of the work @matasar and @attaboy did back in 2007 on Dabble DB: http://blog.dabbledb.com/2007/04/white--or-green.html

We have been using this technique for a while to go from logo-to-brand, I have a demo and API for it: http://landr.co/brandr/

That's really cool! Has this been featured on HN before?


This would be a timely submission! :)

It's a pretty cool new feature.

Something similar could be done in a browser with http://lokeshdhakar.com/projects/color-thief/.

Stefan Sagmeister's logo/branding for Casa da Música takes this idea in reverse – the logo colors are determined by the surrounding imagery: http://www.sagmeister.com/work/featured#/node/192

What's a good music player for OS X? I just want something simple that plays mp3s etc. and helps me manage my collection. Even before this redesign, iTunes was too bossy for me to like it. Is there something like Winamp when it was good?

If you manage your own MP3 directory structure, and like to just drag and drop onto a player to queue stuff up, try http://voxapp.didgeroo.com/

I don't think it has a _lot_ of playlist support, but if you already have the m3u files it'll load them just fine.

Check out Songbird at http://getsongbird.com/

I prefer foobar2000 on Windows for a pure, unadulterated, customizable music player, but Songbird is the best player I've found on OS X. It is fast, plays music, and has a plugin for last.fm, which is everything I require.

I've had the opposite experience; while with a fairly small library Songbird is fine, with mine (~700GB, lossless) it's incredibly slow and prone to crashing. Last time I tried it was about six months ago with no improvement.

As noted by jrajav, since Vista, the Windows taskbar features a single-color version of this, inferred from application icon.

Additionally, the New Tab page in Chrome has exhibited this (inferred from favicon) for as long as I can remember.

Since Windows 7, hovering over an open application in the taskbar has done a similar thing. I sometimes wonder how it almost always manages to pick the dominant colour, even if it isn't necessarily the most common one.

Anyone noticed the lag between typing and results being displayed? It's infuriating, instant search results used to be the hallmark of iTunes.

I always enjoy reading Panic's blog. They always have something interesting to say.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact