Last month I took a trip to LA, Santa Monica to be exact, to attend the first ever Yahoo Music Day. It was an all expense paid trip to visit with the people who work on LAUNCHcast, Yahoo's online music service. I started using "LAUNCH", before it was acquired by Yahoo and is when I first met "hitsman", otherwise known as Todd Beaupré, one of the LAUNCHcast founders. Todd is now Director of Personalization and works to improve Yahoo's online music experience for people just like me.
It's been an interesting journey following LAUNCH all these years. When it first started, like all Internet radio at the time the library was rather limited and algorithms used to deliver personalized music fluctuated, wildly at times and there were days when I couldn't recognize my own station. But thankfully those days are long gone and now I get the music I enjoy listening to streamed all day long.
I met Todd online via IM back in those days because I'd rated a fair amount of music and had 800+ people subscribed to my station. It was through my contact with Todd I learned the reasons why the quality of personalized music varied so greatly. Many times the issue(s) involved record labels more than source code though over the years there were plenty of algorithmic changes that would dramatically alter the music I'd hear.
Anyway, during the trip we got an inside peak into LAUNCHcast, meet the people behind the service and see the massive music library where all the CD's are stored and music encoded. I have to say that the folks I met at Yahoo were very appreciative of those of us who participated and really interested in our feedback madly took notes all day. They also gave us a chance to see some of the upcoming changes to Yahoo Music and gather feedback on that as well.
At the end of the day, we got to attend a the recording of a "live set" with Beck at Fox Studio's. A "live set" is an artist performance in front of a select audience of about 250 people which is filmed and turned into a webcast available online. You'll be able to see the show I attended on January 15th (see the bottom of the page).
Finally, I'd like to thank Todd for IM'ing me the invite and the rest of the folks at LAUNCHcast for making it such an interesting trip.
p.s. If you looked closely at the screenshot of my phone from this post
you can see the 405 which was taken when I was in the cab in LA given that there is no 405 in the bay area.