There are a bunch of features that folks have requested that I am really interested in working on. These are basic features like adding your own songs, community features like being able to ask what to dance to a song or seeing all of a specific dancer’s recommendations, and practical features like more versatility in exporting search results.
But you may have noticed that I released the last significant new feature last year and overall the evolution of the site has been pretty slow recently. This is partly because music4dance is a passion project that I manage in my spare time and partly because it’s a big and complex enough project that something breaks for one reason or another and I lose days or weeks of project time just maintaining the status quo.
All this to say that for the past six months, I’ve been spending the bulk of my available music4dance time upgrading the infrastructure so that I can more easily add features moving forward. I’ve just completed the first (and largest) of several pieces of that upgrade. This should be nearly invisible to you. The main change that you should see is to the account administration pages. Any other changes you see are most likely bugs.
Which brings me to the main reason for this post. Even though the site looks the same, a large part of the infrastructure has been updated. This involved a whole bunch of small changes each of which potentially introduced bugs. So the site will probably be a bit buggier than usual for a bit while I continue to hunt the bugs down and deal with them. This process will go a lot faster if all of you help out and let me know when you see bugs on the site. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve established a bug bounty to reward you for reporting bugs. And now, it should be that much easier to find them.
I’ve still got a decent amount of infrastructure work to do to get to the point where I’m churning out new features as the main part of my music4dance time. But in the meantime, please keep the feature requests coming in as well as the bug reports. And thanks again everyone for all of the ways you support the music4dance effort.
One final thought: Dancing is such a community based activity that these times are particularly hard for those whose lives and livelihoods are dependent on being in the same room with others. Everyone please stay safe and sane in these crazy times and hold tight until we can all return to our respective dance floors.
I’ve been thinking about the concept of music4dance since long before streaming services like Spotify existed, so the idea of generating playlist that could be played against files locally on my computer has certainly been on my radar.
But the quick answer to this question is, unfortunately, no.
The longer answer is (of course) that it’s complicated. The most recent person to ask about this specifically was interested in exporting to .m3u files to be used in ballroomDJ. So I’ll use that as an example, but the general issue that I’m about to outline applies to all of the local players and playlist formats that I’ve encountered.
The problem is that local playlist formats generally use file paths to locate the media that they play. Since most of the information that I’ve compiled in music4dance comes from streaming and commerce services, I have no idea what the filename might be for the songs in the catalog, much less where on disk it my be hiding.
Quite some time ago, I wrote some experimental code that will take a list of song title and artist and search through a local music library in order to attempt to match and create a usable playlist. This worked reasonably well, and when I added possible albums and song length to do some disambiguation it worked a little better. But it wasn’t close to 100% and I’m struggling for a way to generalize that to run on anyone’s system without writing a player of my own.
In any case, I’m not writing about this question just to say that the answer is hard. I’m interested in your feedback in two ways.
- Does anyone have any leads on a media player that does a decent job of consuming some online description of a playlist and matching it to local media? I certainly haven’t done a full survey of the possibilities recently, so I may be missing something that could help solve this problem.
- How useful would this be for you? If enough people express interest in this I’ll push it up in my queue.
As a slight aside, I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to point out that I did get this working for Spotify playlists. While that doesn’t solve the exact problem for those who use local media libraries, it’s very cool for Spotify users. Read about that in this post: Create a Spotify Playlist.
As always if you have comments or suggestions please feel free to reply to this post or contact me here. And let me know if you like the Q&A blog format. If you do, send me more questions to answer, please!
One of my initial goals with music4dance was to be able to create playlists to dance to. I can finally say that I’ve got this working in a way that is close to my original vision at least for Spotify.
The idea is, for instance, that I’d like to build a playlist of Foxtrot songs that are on the faster end of the spectrum (say 132-136bpm) and further limit the list to songs that are in the pop genre. I’ve had the system in place for a long time to generate search results for a list like this from the advanced search page.
The new and exciting
thing is that when you get the results of this search, there is a button at the
bottom labeled “Create Spotify Playlist.” Clicking on that button
will bring you to a page where you can name the playlist and choose the number
of songs from the search results to include.
More help on this feature is available here.
Creating a custom playlist is a premium feature. But you can take advantage of all of the standard playlists by checking out the music4dance profile on Spotify.
always, I welcome feedback both on this post and
the site in general. I’d like to thank everyone
who has contributed to the site in any of the many possible ways. And if
you enjoy the site please consider contributing in any way that makes sense