MusicIP vs. The Filter

Recently an anonymous commenter wondered about my more favorable impression of the MusicIP Mixer compared to The Filter. S/he wrote:

It interests me that you don't find the filter as good, why is this? I've definately found the filter to be far more usable with my iTunes/Last.fm account.
Since then, I decided to give the Filter another go. I don't have the time to give a full review of each piece of software. For those of you not familiar with them, these programs analyze one's music library and create a playlist based on one or more user song selections. The bottom line for me is the quality of the mix created. I said in the earlier post that I liked the mixes of MusicIP better. My recent use of the Filter only confirms this impression. When I select a song I am looking for a mix that will maintain the mood of the selected song. I noticed with the FIlter my mixes were more widely variant. I want variety mind you, otherwise I would not use a mixer at all. But, I use these mixers a lot at work, where I need to keep the mood rather mellow. The Filter always seemed to find a way to work in some less than mellow songs from the likes of Sleater-Kinney and The Amps no matter with what mellow song I began. Bear in mind, I am not making any comparisons about the GUI or iTunes intergration (in fact the Filter is slightly better than MusicIP on these things, but not by much and it is mostly personal preference); I am speaking only to the resulting mixes. Below is an example. With both I asked the program to select 15 more songs in addition to one of my favorite mellow listens.

MusicIP Mixer Playlist
1. The Way / Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
2. The Moon / The Microphones
3. Letter From A Concerned Follower / Pedro the Lion
4. Song For The Angels / Great Lake Swimmers
5. Cold Feet / Tracy Chapman
6. Dancing in the Dark / Diana Krall
7. Rockets / Cat Power
8. Off You / The Breeders
9. Between the Bars [Orchestral] / Elliott Smith
10. If You Were Mine / Fernando Ortega
11. One Of These Things First / Nick Drake
12. 43c / Kind Of Like Spitting
13. Broken / Tracy Chapman
14. I Saw You In The Wild / Great Lake Swimmers
15. Elephant Parade / Jon Brion
16. Between the Bars / Elliott Smith

The Filter Playlist
1. The Way / Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
2. Neon Bible / Arcade Fire
3. I Was A Landscape In Your Dream / Of Montreal
4. Smoke / Ben Folds Five
5. The One You Love / Rufus Wainwright
6. Male Middle-class and White / Ben Folds
7. Lesson's from What's Poor / Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
8. Oh / Sleater-Kinney
9. The Way You Wear Your Head / Nada Surf
10. Loro / Pinback
11. '75 AKA Stay With You / Lemon Jelly
12. Life Has Been Good / Ben Folds
13. Paper Boats / Nada Surf
14. Across the Universe / Rufus Wainwright
15. Windowsill / Arcade Fire
16. Cursed Sleep / Bonnie 'Prince' Billy

You'd have to know these songs to see the difference. To my ears there's a good deal of discrepancy. Too often I have to skip a song from the Filter list, not because I don't like the song, but because it is outside of the mood range. I find myslef wondering if th Filter even took into account my original selection(s). I'm not sure what's under the hood of these two programs, but I do know that MusicIP takes a good deal longer on the front-end and with each synchronization to analyze the songs in my library. I believe the results are worth the wait.

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