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Apple Music and iTunes Engineers Invent a Method to Generate a Customized Social-Driven Music Playlist

1 Cover Music playlist patent


Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to generating personalized playlists from media items from a user's social media connections. Our cover graphic illustrates a "Friends Mix Artwork" image that is reflected in the Apple Music image below. Apple has already introduced this patent-pending invention for Apple Music. See Apple's Support page "See what friends are listening to in Apple Music," that describes the Apple Music service. For those that are interested, our report briefly covers the patent behind the Apple Music service. 


1 B Friends Mix

Apple notes in their patent filing that music is an important part of interpersonal relationships, and one of the best ways to learn music is through one's interpersonal relationships. Because of this fact, some technologies display songs that have recently been played back by members of a user's social network. However, such technologies give too much importance to the influence of the social network and many of the songs that are displayed are irrelevant to the user.


Apple's invention is designed to provide a customized playlist for a user that while influenced by a user account's social network, also take into account the user account's taste, by using songs or other media items from friend accounts with similar taste profiles. A user account for which a playlist is to be generated may be identified.


The user account may be associated with personal data such as a user listening history, taste profile, and a social profile. One or more friend accounts may be identified as associated with the social profile, for example, in a social network.


A plurality of songs are identified as being associated with the friend accounts. The plurality of songs may be refined by considering listening history of the friends. For example, only songs that have been listened to recently may be included. A playlist may then be generated from the refined plurality of songs.


According to one or more embodiments, the playlist may be displayed on a graphical user interface as noted in patent figures below. The graphical user interface may include a graphical depiction for one or more songs or other media items of the playlist, such as album art or a depiction of the artist. In addition, according to one or more embodiments, the graphical depiction for the one or more songs may be modified or enhanced with a graphical indication of the user or users from which the song was obtained.


Apple's patent FIGS. 8A and 8B are example GUI's related to invention. The content browsing user interface of 8A may include a title and a Friends Mix artwork corresponding to the socially-driven customized playlist.


2. Generating a customized social driven playlist figs. 2  8A&B


In the example of FIG. 8B above the content browsing user interface additionally includes a 'friends' ribbon, which depicts the graphical indication of friend accounts which contributed to the playlist.


Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a simplified block diagram is depicted of a media service/music service (Apple Music) connected to a social media service and a client device, for example over a network. Client device #140 may be a multifunctional device, such as a mobile phone, tablet computer, personal digital assistant, portable music/video player, wearable device, or any other electronic device that includes a media playback system.


3.  Generating a customized social driven playlist fig. 1 system overview


Apple's patent application 20200004495 was published today by the U.S. Patent Office. To drill into the details, check out the patent here. Patent Office was filed back in Q3 2019. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.


A Few of Apple's Inventors


Uli Schöberl: Human Interface Design at Apple Music

Arvind Shenoy; Senior Engineering Manager, Apple Media Products

Priyo Mustafi: Engineering, Architecture @iTunes

Erik Lindholm: UI Designer


10.51FX - Patent Application Bar


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