May 17, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Bipolar Radio: Like a Mood-Steerable Pandora

Bipolar Radio

As its name suggests, Bipolar Radio is a streaming radio service that allows listeners to create a station around a particular artist, then decide what plays next by steering the playlist in a more upbeat or chilled-out direction using two big buttons.

Bipolar Radio was created by Paul Lamere,  the director of the application developer community for The Echo Nest (publisher of and one of the Music Hack Day OG‘s. While it may not have much practical application for everyday listening, it’s a great way to goof around and kill some time listening to music while exploring an artist’s catalog. I enjoyed putting in the names of relentlessly chill artists and seeing what came back as “upbeat” (for Bon Iver the answer is “For Emma“) and the opposite for “chill” (Katy Perry’s chilled-out track is “Firework“).

The service only plays thirty seconds of each song , courtesy of Rdio’s API, unless you’re an Rdio subscriber in which case you get full-track playback. The other API involved is The Echo Nest, thanks to its integration deal with Rdio that helps app developers access both to create apps.

For Rdio subscribers, Bipolar Radio could become addictive pretty quickly, and a nice way to shake up Pandora’s dominance in the space. Customization is always nice from a listener perspective, and in this case, it provides a cool way to create a mood-controlled playlist.

I can see this working really well for the gym, because it would be great to hear an artist- or genre-specific playlist without worrying about a slow song starting to play during a hard cardio session.

See more apps from San Francisco Music Hack Day.

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