1/12/2018

Discover New (and Random) Music With Cinuosity


Every music lover has found themselves at times tired of listening to the same songs or albums on repeat. No matter how much you love a certain type of music, listen to it enough and it will probably start to feel stale. With this, you are faced with the challenge of finding new music. That can be a pretty daunting task at times, and you may find yourself stuck in a rut, circling the same stale (to you) genres and not being able to break into new territories.

At least that's where Christian Steinmetz found himself before creating Cinuosity. Christian is a Clemson student who has always had an avid interest in finding new music. You might recognize his name as a critical member of WSBF Radio His music discovery journey started when he was in middle school, sharing Youtube playlists with his friends. Over the years that evolved into finding new music with Spotify's Discover feature.

Eventually, Christian found himself bored even with the music being suggested to him by Spotify's Discover playlists. That isn't a knock on Spotify, though. It's just that Spotify bases its suggestions on the music that you've already been listening to, so it's easy to get stuck in one genre of music. You'll find great songs in that genre that you've never heard before, but for the listener with a desire to break out of the confines of one particular genre, this can be frustrating.

With this, Christian set out to make Cinuosity, a music discovery tool that is almost completely based on randomness.

How it works is simple: it's a web-based application that links directly to your Spotify account. You choose a weirdness level using the slider, and when you click 'Discover', it generates a playlist with 10 random songs. To give you a better idea of this, I've included three playlists I made at three different weirdness levels below.

Why Bother
Weird
Buckle Up


As you can see, these playlists are truly random. You might recognize a few songs on the first playlist, and maybe even a few on the second playlist, but I highly doubt you've ever heard any of the songs on that 'Buckle Up' playlist.

I asked Christian how the randomness is calculated, and he explained it to me.

Basically, Christian told me the app uses the selected randomness level to choose a word from a database of English dictionary words, then conducts a search on Spotify and chooses a random track from the search results.After that, the app runs the track through a popularity filter that is also based on the randomness level. The higher the selected randomness, the less popular the selected song will be. The app repeats this process until 10 songs are added to the playlist. These selections have nothing to do with your listening trends.

In this way, Cinuosity offers a solution to the common problem of being stuck within the confines of a genre that you're extremely familiar and comfortable with.

Christian also told me that he plans to continue improving Cinuosity, and he has a few new ideas in mind for future implementations. Perhaps the most exciting of these ideas is the capability to filter your playlist results by geographic location, even down to a particular city. This will allow users to discover new music in their city, and even cities that they may be interested in learning about, and will offer artists in these cities exposure to new listeners.

While it is nice to find music in your favorite genre, it is also important to branch out. If you don't you run the risk of missing out on entire genres of music that you didn't even know existed, and that could potentially be your next favorite genre. Cinuosity will help you break out of your musical shell. Try it for yourself at cinuosity.com.

If you want to be the first to know about what Christian comes up with next, follow him on Twitter. Read more in-depth about all his projects on christiansteinmetz.com.

Christian has been saving his favorite Cinuosity finds on a public Spotify playlist. Check it out below.

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