Featured Freeware: The Filter

The Filter is a multi-jukebox plug-in that uses artificial intelligence and the All Music Guide database to create custom playlists based on a variety of user inputs, such as a few songs of your choice, specific artists, or music genres.

The Filter is a multijukebox plug-in for Windows and Mac that uses artificial intelligence and the All Music Guide database to create custom iTunes, Winamp, and Windows Media Player playlists based on a variety of user inputs, such as a few songs of your choice, specific artists, or music genres. It also works for video, including movies, TV shows, and Web-only videos.

Upon start-up, The Filter scans your entire music library, which takes considerable time if you have more than 10,000 tracks. It compares the metadata for those files against the All Media Guide database, as well as your own playing history to compose new playlists based around various parameters. A lot of its success will depend on your library, of course, and how well your tracks are tagged. You'll need a username and password to access The Filter service, and, in fact, you can't finish the registration process without rating at least three musicians and three movies.

The interface has been improved so it's no longer buggy, although there is a bit of a delay--one or two seconds--while it coughs up a new playlist. Its icon lives on the Quick Launch bar. Right-clicking accesses a context menu, and from there users can jump to Preferences, thefilter.com, or change the default playlist generation from being based on the song to the genre. Double-click on the icon and it automatically generates a playlist, as long as a track is currently playing. Playlists are generated from Bayesian mathematics algorithms and evidence models, and you can configure how much your playlists are influenced by album sales.

The Filter offers a strong alternative to iTunes' Genius playlist, as well as giving recommended playlists to jukeboxes that otherwise would have none.

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