The ShufflePlay Game

Wednesday, January 19, 2005 | 12:27 PM

Last week, we discussed how the iPod Shuffle was the new radio. Its a straight forward thesis, hard to argue against.

Have a gander at a this meme making its rounds on the net -- evincing even more evidence that the radio business model of playing music is fading:

This week, we are discovering proof of this all over the web, via what's been called The ShufflePlay Game.  (I put up my own version of the ShufflePlay Game over here and here).

Here's a short list of blogs posting variations of Shuffle Play:

The Republic of T.:   Music for the Masses   

Scott's PlaceShuffle play   

Matthew Yglesias: Shuffle!

essays & effluvia: Shuffle Play

The Fly Bottle:  Shuffle Game

Stumbling and Mumbling    Shuffle and see    

Crescat Sententia:   Potpourri

divine angst: my ipod's shuffler

Grammar.police: iPost

Class MaledictorianTerrible Taste

Knowledge Problem:   WHILE WE'RE IN A MUSIC VEIN ...

Mansfield Fox:   Know Me by My Music

Death in the Afternoon: Six Hour Exams 

aworks :: "new" american classical music: Wedge (1961). Roger Reynolds

essays & effluvia: More Shuffle Play

Cobb:   Self Indulgent Twenty

The Republic of T. gets props for being the earliest of these I've found -- dating all the back to April 2, 2004. Scott's Place gets special mention for having assembled at least 7 random shuffle collections (Kudos!).

If you know of any other shuffle play posts, please let me know, and I'll add them to the list . . .
(listed bloggers feel free to trackback to this post).


Lastly, check out Professor Booty's analysis of the Math of Random/Shuffle Play

Okay, let's say you have 2500 songs. To simplify, let's say that's 10 songs per album for a total of 250 albums. And we'll define "repeat" as "hearing a song from the same album you've already heard a song from". How often will you hear a repeat (by that definition)?

By the time you get to the 20th song, the odds of having heard at least one repeat by the same artists is an extremely surprising 76%!

I'd love to see that math verified . . .

UPDATE:  January 24, 2005 6:30 am

Tobias Brandt weighs in on the subject of the Math of shuffle play

"I disagree with Prof. Booty's analysis of the probability of getting a repeat album within 20 songs and my own analysis puts the odds at 54%.  (See spreadsheet used to get the result).  The spreadsheet also has the benefit of being able to account for excluding repeats of previous songs, a feature many  media players have.

Download song_repeat_probability.xls

Prof Booty:  Not sure what accounts for your mistake but generally speaking one can't just sum probabilities and it's best to  look at things like this in terms of a probability tree diagram.

I wish I could get all my questions answered so quickly and succinctly!


UPDATE II:  February 6, 2005 11:31 am
If you are curious how the Pod actually makes its shuffle decision, check out:
A Look Inside the iPod Shuffle

hat tip:  iPoditude

Wednesday, January 19, 2005 | 12:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (4) add to | digg digg this! | technorati add to technorati | email email this post



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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The ShufflePlay Game:

» Shuffle and see from Stumbling and Mumbling
Everyone’s doing it – Lynne, Will, and the good folks sampled by Barry. So here’s my contribution to the iPod shuffle game. My first 10, in order, are: Don’t – Elvis Presley After Hours – Velvet Underground Bolero – Django [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 23, 2005 9:38:47 AM

» Carnival of the Capitalists from Business Opportunities Weblog
Welcome to this week's edition of the Carnival of the Capitalists. There were tons of great posts last week in the capitalist blogosphere: David Tufte wondered, in voluntaryXchange: "when is a good worth more when you remove what makes... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 24, 2005 4:51:37 PM

» On 'the shuffle play game' from Scott's place

Apparently, I have more shuffle play postings than anybody else, which I don't think can be correct, but there you go.

[Read More]

Tracked on Jan 30, 2005 9:37:37 AM

» On 'the shuffle play game' from Scott's Place
It's the new mix tape [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 23, 2005 9:23:15 AM


Thanks for the trackback. I've got a new bloghome now, at

Posted by: Terrance Heath | Jan 23, 2005 4:30:34 PM

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