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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 16, 2007 at 9:59 AM

Apple’s new iTunes feature sounds familiar

Apple must be paying attention to Seattle-based iLike, a “social music discovery” service built largely by ex-Microsoft engineers.

Lots of people are starting to use iLike’s sidebar for iTunes. It samples music that you’re listening to and suggests similar tracks that you might like, offering both free tracks from garageband.com and songs you can buy from iTunes and other online retailers.

Yesterday iTunes debuted a new feature called “If You Like …” in its iTunes newsletter. Apple describes it as “a new iTunes feature that highlights a specific song and finds an array of similar tracks.”

But instead of using technology to analyze what you’re listening to, as iLike does, Apple is pitching a cluster of pre-selected songs. Tuesday’s feature suggested several songs that fans of British crooner Amy Winehouse would like.

Hadi Partovi, iLike’s co-founder, took the high road when I asked for his take:

“I guess I’d say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and especially flattering from somebody we admire as much as Apple.”

Comments | More in | Topics: Apple, Digital media, Startups

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