The music you may like, recommended by ….YOU

Local start up is also a multi-national enterprise

By Riad Lemhachheche

OSU alumni Matthew McLoughlin, left, Rick Hangartner and Jim Shur show off the MyStrands program they have helped develop into an international franchise with more than 40 employees.

MusicStrands, a local company, is planning to change the way people discover and share music.

Music enthusiasts may search numerous venues for novelty: specialized magazines, MTV, the radio, concerts or even friends. There isn’t an easy way to discover new cool songs without some effort.

MusicStrands is trying to change that. MusicStrands’ free software, MyStrands, recommends songs based on what you are currently listening to.

Connected to Apple’s iTunes (and soon other players), the application looks at your listening behavior and searches in its 5-million-song database for recommendations.

“When you listen to radio, watch TV, or read a magazine, you are discovering the music others are telling you to discover. What MusicStrands wants is for people to have greater control of the music they discover,” said Gabriel Aldamiz-echevarria, vice president of marketing and communications at MusicStrands.

Several other companies are trying to provide innovative music recommendation services., for example, provides its customers with recommendations based on their previous purchases. LastFm collects your playlists and provides you with recommendations based on your profile.

What sets MusicStrands apart from the competition is the fact that “MyStrands is the only system that recommends based on what you play, that provides with instant recommendations,” Aldamiz-echevarria said.

“The songs you are playing now represents your context,” said Matthew McLaughlin, a 2005 OSU graduate and vice president of product innovation for the company. In fact, MusicStrands offers two types of recommendations. MyStrands offers instant recommendations based on your current mood and the latest songs you played, while the Web site gives you recommendations on your complete profile.

What if your tastes do not fit mainstream standards? MusicStrands places a lot of emphasis on independent music. The MusicStrands Indy program enables artists to get profiled for free in the system by including information on their music and letting them add links to hear their songs.

“It is not based on advertising, it is based on how they play,” McLaughlin said.

Another service offered is MusicStrands’ music charts, which enable users to share music charts that update daily and automatically on their Web site or blog.

And according to the company, this is just the beginning. MusicStrands, which was created in the summer of 2004, is growing fast. It employs 40 people in offices in both the United States and Spain.

The company, headquartered in Corvallis, is on a highly dynamic market and enjoys agreements with companies such as Amazon, Apple and Wal-Mart.

The company’s relationship to OSU is special since it employs several OSU alumni and counts Jon Herlocker and Thomas Dietterich, two computer science professors, among its founders.

“MusicStrands is rooted in Corvallis. Corvallis is a great place to hire talent and to attract talent. We heavily want to hire more talent from the university,” Aldamiz-echevarria said.

That’s why the company, which is always on the lookout for new ideas, invites OSU students to submit theirs to

“If we like the idea, it is possible that the student comes to our offices to make it happen,” Aldamiz-echevarria said.

More information on MusicStrands is available at

Riad Lemhachheche, staff writer, 737-6376

NOTE: this is a reprint of a story for the Oct 14th OSU Daily Barometer. Original version The music you may like, recommended by ….YOU – The Daily Barometer

UPDATE: see the excellent review from Nicolas who call it a social itunes