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Serendipity – When 2 people listen to the same song at the same time (kylemcdonald.net)
226 points by gflandre on Aug 21, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 67 comments

Warning: it starts playing music automatically. Be careful to adjust your volume so you don't bother anyone around you.

Cannot upvote this enough. If the creator of this is listening, for Cthulhu's sake require some input from the user before blaring out sound at them. Was interested, but closed as soon as a tab started making loud noises without me asking it to.

Even though this thread is tangential to the OP, I second your sentiment and apologize for furthering the thread hijack.

Obviously, I am of the opinion that automatic media playback is a "no no" and I personally dislike the practice. The use of automatic media playback is a red flag in my mind that tells me, "This website is not primarily user-preference driven and is likely something that is about to show me a marketing pitch. The owners of the website do not have a problem with surprising me and/or others nearby due to an oversight or marketing interests."

This thread deserves to be at the top as a reminder to web services and design staff. I realize that decisions for auto-playback likely come from above. If I were in a position of subservience and the directive came from above, I would offer my advice that this behavior is pushy and may turn away users.

Adding (Warning: Autoplay Music) in the description would be the the courteous thing to do here.

creator here. sorry for the annoyance! original idea was to slowly fade the first song in, but i couldn't get the html5 audio api wrangled quickly enough for launch. the insanity of consecutive 3 second audio clips is definitely a part of the experience i didn't want anyone to miss, but sorry it couldn't have started more subtly.

It's really not that bad. Click the "mute" icon in the top-left of the screen and go on with your life.

This is actually a pet peeve on mine, I feel it's akin to people playing music loudly on their phones in public. I like people to respect my silence.

I'd appreciate it if web sites asked me before blurting out music - it seems with HTML5 people have forgotten the annoyance of Flash banner ads.

It was bad for me as I was already listening to spotify, so the two songs mixed quite horrendously

or don't forget to raise your volume so that you don't miss anything

While this data is interesting enough on its own, the map animations are even cooler. The transitions from one location pair to the next are mesmerizing, and can provide some really cool perspectives of the globe. Great execution on that.

thanks! all credit goes to the developers of d3.js though, i wouldn't have considered these projections if not for the example here http://bl.ocks.org/mbostock/3763057

i think all the stuff mike bostocks does is absolutely legendary- to the (probably few) people who haven't seen his website, check out http://bost.ocks.org/mike/

Brilliant stuff!

I wish there was a history of the pairs. I really liked some song snippets but before I could hit space to continue playing, it disappeared...

Pro-tip: press space whenever you hear something you like and the song will continue playing, and you have a good chance to catch it. Also, clicking anywhere on the screen (while paused or not) takes you to the active song in Spotify.

The song also keeps playing when the tab is in the background.

It stops playing after ~20 secondes for me. Then a ~5 seconds silence gap and then it picks up something new.

When I select the active tab it cycles through locations every ~3-5 secondes.

According to the wiki pages you cite, serendipity is a "fortunate happenstance" or "pleasant surprise" and synchronicity is the experience of two or more events as meaningfully related . So I'd say that neither apply here. In my opinion the appropriate word is "coincidence".

I wonder what you call it when two people listen to Synchronicity (by the Police) at the same time :)

It might be ironic, but not Ironic.

Neat and all.... but with the beauty of "radio" one could basically light up a crapton of folks in any given area all listening to the same song.

I remember back when I delivered pizzas, it was not uncommon for most of us drivers to all be humming the same song as we are getting stuff inside, since we all listened to the same stations.

If it was a really good song ending as I got back to the store, it was not uncommon to find that I waited it out in the parking lot along with at least two other drivers. :)

Radio isn't selective though, you don't make the decision what to play. It's more like the coincidence that you hit play on the same song exactly as the radio DJ does.

Kyle McDonald has a lot of cool projects. Check out this one http://vimeo.com/29348533 using the open source Facetracker library (built by Jason Saragih and maintained by Kyle).

Pretty friendly guy, helped me out via email with some questions I had when I was playing around with facetracker.

I'm finding the pause button doesn't react in time for me to catch the song most of the time. By the time I realize I like what I'm hearing it's already too late to pause it. An adjustment for time per song would be great.

Yeah, the dwell time is ridiculously short. A way to slow it down would make all the difference in the world.

usability isn't my strength, so this is all very helpful feedback. thanks!

You can click anywhere on the screen and it'll open a new tab with the song.

If you switch tabs it also plays the current tracker for longer. Not sure if this is a feature or not, haven't delved in to it.

I noticed that as well... I think it is. Although, I just tried it again and isn't working. Go figure.

And I can't find anything in https://www.spotify.com/us/arts/serendipity/scripts/serendip... that would change when you switch tabs.

Cool, how about 2 or more people listening to the same audio in sync on their different Internet devices, Spotify?

Together creating a stereo system with friends & or those in the crowd around them.

Anyone else interested in such a feature?

The silent disco app, Lysn in, supports various audio sources including Spotify for synchronized playback between devices. Other audio sources include SoundCloud, media library and the ability to connect an external audio source like DJ equipment. www.Lysn.in

That's what Turntable.fm was for. It failed :(

huh Turntable.fm did not sync audio playback between multiple Internet devices like i.e. SpeakerBlast does...


Turntable was definitely a slick site, yet there was a lot of interaction needed and personally I got tired of having need to interact to listen to music. Listening to music for me is more a passive past time.

Yes, audio was synced between listeners (devices). If you jumped in a room for example, playback would start at the point everyone in the room is at, and people would comment on various parts of the music at the same time.

Spotify doesn't offer this? I thought they did?

If not +1.

Spotify offers shared playlists, but not synced playback.

There are apps that do this such as Samsung's Group Play, Chorus for Android (http://goo.gl/ZQH3HX) and the web app, http://SpeakerBlast.com

I think Spotify getting this feature working wouldn't be trivial as syncing audio perfectly across different Internet devices (labtop, PC, tablet, phone, etc) doesn't seem doable. Also, music licensing issues would probably be an issue too.

Well, everyone with a Spotify licence already has the a licence to play songs on Spotify. Don't get what the problem is. Syncing could probably be done via microphone. One device starts and then the other devices catch on in turn. The syncing would hardly be noticeable at the beginning of the song.

Ah, I smell the sort of thing where the only answer you'll accept, and the only answer I can give is, "Go ahead and try it."

You'll find out why it's hard in a way that no amount of explaining will do, and you'll find reality less amenable to argumentation than comment boxes.

(If you do try it, make sure you've got two different devices, ideally two different types, and be sure to be streaming from somewhere at least 50ms away on the network, ideally with at least a few ms in variance between requests. Though odds are pretty good that even trying to stream the same song to two identical devices over a local Wifi network would only work most of the time, you'd find...)

Hmmm based upon a suggestion above I looked at SpeakerBlast and it looks like they got audio playback synced up on a tablet, laptop, phone, etc....


hmmm, so i guess it can be done!??!

Yes, of course it can be done.

It just isn't as easy as it looks.

In fact, things that are a great deal more complicated can also be done, such as really fantastic real-time echo cancellation or feedback prevention in a large room with many speakers and many microphones. It just isn't as easy as you would naively think; everything that just leaps to mind (especially if you aren't particularly knowledgeable about signal processing) don't work. You'll pay big bucks for the system that can do that, and there's a reason for that.

Well, Spotify caches songs, so the streaming part is done for you. The problem is constrained to synchronizing playback. Yes, that might be really hard, but you're inventing problems.

Try it.

You'll discover I'm not inventing problems, I'm oversimplifying.

Try it.

What about connecting over an local area network? I know the game Spaceteam did this quite well. I wonder how they managed this technological feat.

The spotify app 'Soundrop' does this. You can create rooms with a shared queue where music plays simulataneously.

Every song selected was in English. I'm not sure if this is because it's built so only English songs show up or because English has become the defacto global language for music.

There's probably a selection bias because spotify is not equally popular everywhere around the world. The majority of the matches seem to fall in the USA and other english speaking countries as far as I can see.

But even beyond that, American are so good at exporting their cultural products I'm pretty certain that american music is the most popular international music. I mean, even in non-english speaking countries many (most?) new bands sing in english to try and emulate them.

Keep watching. I got a bunch of songs in Spanish being played by people in Latin America, and a couple in Swedish.

EDIT: That said, there's something magical about knowing that people in Majorca and San Pedro de Alcantrata were listening to Boston "together."

Very annoying that it started playing music by itself.

Based on a few minutes of observation, Ed Sheeran is the most popular artist in the world.

Is there any sophistication behind the sound clip selection? Just a certain static point in each song, or some kind of algorithm to get to a recognisable part?

the clips are spotify's preview mp3s, which are selected at random from the song. i know at least one very clever person at spotify who is trying to extract the 'hook' or 'recognisable part', and it worked really well last time i listened.

It's using Spotify's preview of the song, so either an algorithm or manual selection I'd wager.

As the music started to play I reached to pause the music I already had playing, but then I realized that it was paused automatically by Spotify. That's a pretty cool feature that they have - very well integrated.

It's DRM, actually. I agree it's a useful feature sometimes — until you want to leave music playing for your partner in your living room while you listen to music and cook dinner in the kitchen.

Weird, my Spotify kept playing while the map was mapping... I had to manually hit pause in the Spotify client...

Off-topic: Could the admins change the link to point to the final, redirected url - https://www.spotify.com/us/arts/serendipity/ ?

Anyways, fantastic execution! Great visualization. My only super-minor complaint is the fade in/fade out could be a little less abrupt when the songs change :)

I'm in Australia, and the link took me to https://www.spotify.com/au/arts/serendipity/. Not sure what difference it makes, but if it's redirecting based on region, it might be best to leave it as is.

I've always thought this would be cool for e.g. a cross-country team, or friends running together, to have.

Imagine incorporating a PA system so a coach could talk to and track his athletes on all their training runs...

If you want to keep a track playing, just hit ctrl-page up to switch to another tab. It'll play for the track's full 30 seconds.

Or you can click the background to listen to it on play.spotify.com.

A missing feature would be to be able to see a list of the songs that were played, I missed a couple of songs I'd want to listen a little bit more.

That's nothing, last.fm would show who is listening to the same song you are listening to right now.

I call this phenomenon "radio".

While listening to this it made me realize how much music is compressed nowadays. I think this is a bad trend.

Wow, what an awesome project. Would be cool to read how it was made.

it was built with storm for processing all the listening data in realtime, node.js for relaying udp messages from storm to websockets, and d3.js for rendering the map along with the spotify web api for grabbing all the artist data, cover images, song previews.

Any chance Spotify will provide a realtime API for tracks you have listened to?

Jesus, people have an awful taste in music.

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