This is a preview of the features so far in Rapid Evolution 3, which is still in development and hopefully soon to enter beta testing.
A summary of its current features:
- Automatic detection of song properties: BPM, Key, Beat Intensity, Replay Gain
- Automatic retrieval of metadata from a variety of sources (Mixshare, Lastfm, Discogs, Musicbrainz, Billboard, Idiomag, Echonest, Lyricsfly, Lyricwiki, BBC, Yahoo, with much more planned)
- Receive personalized recommendations for new artists, releases and songs not in your collection
- A built in media player with a similarity based auto-play feature (like Pandora but using songs from your own collection)
- Browse not just songs but artists, labels and releases
- Filter by styles (genres), tags, BPM, key, beat intensity, and much more
- Easily view compatible songs (based on key, BPM, and overall similarity)
- Support for ordered playlists (i.e. "mixes") and dynamic, rule based playlists (similar to iTunes "smart" playlists)
- Support for video as well as audio
- Native UI (more responsive than the Java based UI in RE2)
On the left are all of the available search filters (currently selected is the "Tags" filter list):
- Styles (i.e. Genres)
- View specific filters (in this case, song specific filters such as BPM, Key, etc)
In addition, the filters lists themselves can be searched. This is useful because the number of tags will be quite large, as RE3 will by default fetch tag and style data for your collection from a variety of sources. Styles are generally a subset of the tags, as tags can represent any concept or idea. The ability to search by tags is quite powerful. For example, if I wanted to exclude songs with vocals in them, I could search the tags list for tags with the text "vocals" in them, then hold ALT and select the resulting tags to exclude showing any songs with vocals.
The center contains the filtered results. The default view is the "My Songs" view, shown here. The currently available views are:
- My Artists
- My Labels
- My Releases
- My Songs
- Recommended Artists
- Recommended Labels
- Recommended Releases
- Recommended Songs
Just as in RE2, the user can control which columns will be displayed, and there are a plethora of columns to choose from, depending on the type of user you are.
Here is an example of the "My Releases" view:
Here is an example of the "My Artists" view:
Double clicking an item in the results view will show the item's details (aka profile details). The information for the profile will be organized under different tabs. For example, in this next screenshot, the "Similar" tab shows similar artists to "Minilogue":
Not only can the user see similar artists, but the similar list can be filtered in a few ways (All Artists, My Artists, New Artists). What this allows the user to do, for example, is see similar artists that don't already exist in the user's collection (i.e. which they probably don't know about yet). This is quite useful when looking for new artists to go and listen to...
Notice the other tabs available for artists:
- Info (artist biography information)
- Links (artist related web pages)
- Videos (links to artist related videos on source such as Youtube)
Just as with the "Similar" tab, the user can choose to filter this list in a few ways (All Releases, My Releases, New Releases). This allows the user to quickly see which releases by the artist they might be missing, if they're the collector type... The same type of filtering options are available for the artist "Songs" tab (not shown here).
The style and tag editor for songs and other profiles are more sophisticated than RE2, allowing degrees to be specified for each (0-100%). This allows much more accurate comparison of items. Here is a view of the tag editing for an artist profile (the "Tags" tab):
The degrees can be easily adjusted. Furthermore, single click selection can be made to add/remove styles and tags. Much of this information will be collected automatically, but the advanced user can always come in and add/remove tags or adjust degrees, and the user provided values will never be overwritten (i.e. they override information retrieved from various sources).
Now let's take a look at the song profile tabs. RE2 users are used to (and were perhaps initially confused by) a "bpm search" and "key search" button. In RE3, for DJs who are mixing, finding (harmonically) compatible songs is much easier. There is now a "Compatible" tab which shows which songs are within BPM range, in a harmonically compatible key, and are overall similar to the current profile (based on styles, tags, beat intensity, timbre, artist similarity and other properties). Here is a screenshot:
Note: just as with RE2, the coloring of the songs indicates how "in tune" the songs are (a degree of harmonic compatibility, after it is beat matched).
Just as with RE2, when a DJ finds a song which mixes well, they can save it as a "Mixout" to remember it for later. Saved mixouts can be viewed under a different tab:
The mixouts are also used in the auto-play feature, discussed later.
Here is a sample of the "Details" tab, where the user can edit the properties of an item:
Not pictured here for the song profile is a "Lyrics" tab which exists, when applicable. As you can tell, certain tabs are specific to the type of item being viewed, while others are common (such as "Similar", "Styles", "Tags", "Details").
Here are a couple screenshots showing a release profile's tabs:
One powerful feature of RE3 is the ability to recommend artists, releases and songs that don't already exist in your collection. RE3 will utilize ratings that you have provided and play count information in attempt to determine your preference towards styles, tags, artists, etc. It then uses this to provide you with very straightforward views where you can see recommended material, sorted by predicted match to your personal tastes. Keep in mind that this is really utilizing collective knowledge and socially mined information from sources such as Lastfm, so it works quite well!
Here's the recommend artists view for myself (Qualia). Note: these are all artists that I don't have in my collection (which is quite large, >23,000 songs), but are similar to artists I do like...
Note: in these recommended screenshots, I have filtered the results by the "House" tag. This simply shows that the user can also filter the recommendations, if you're looking for a particular style of music. In reality, most people like all kinds of music and will be in the mood for different styles on any given day, so this ability comes in handy.
Similarly, here's the recommend releases and songs views:
Another particular fun feature of RE3 is the much improved media player (which supports both audio and video). The new player has Pandora-like feature where you can play one song in your library, and it will continue to play similar songs automatically after that. The behavior for this is customizable, and is a very nice alternative to creating playlists. Once again, when determining the song selection, it is harnessing collective knowledge from various sources on the net, so the results are quite good. It should be noted that when computing song similarity, RE3 takes into account much more than just the style attributes (which RE2 did), but the tags, beat intensity, timbre, artist similarity, recommendations from various sources, and more.
The media player is much improved over RE2. It utilizes native code (the Qt Phonon framework, in addition to Quicktime if available) to provide much more responsive seeking. It also obeys the replay gain values for a more pleasurable listening experience. It is also designed to allow the user to easily rate the songs (which helps with the recommendations) and add style/tag information if desired. Here's a screenshot of the media player:
RE3 also adds playlist support (in RE2, many users utilized the styles system as a substitute for this). There are 2 main types of playlists supported, ordered playlists (aka mix sets) and dynamic playlists (which are rule based, similar to the iTunes "smart" playlists). Similar to tags/styles, playlists can be arranged hierarchically by the user (i.e. in a tree structure), and complex selections can be made to allow very customizable filtering. Here is a screenshot of the playlists view:
Dynamic playlists can be defined by artist, label, release or specific songs. They can also be defined by a set of style/tag selections, and any of the search filtering options which RE3 provides. For example, here on the left you can see the additional search options for the "My Songs" view (which at any point can be saved as a playlist, along with any style/tag selections):
That's about it for now. So what's next? RE3 is still in development, but will hopefully be released sometime soon. There are many planned data sources to assimilate into RE3, such as for concert times and prices of where to buy songs/releases. Rest assured that RE3 is completely customizable, and for those who are not interested in these additional features, everything can be "turned off" if desired.
If you have any feedback or suggestions, please post on the forum!