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Zune patent for automatic track download Print E-mail
Written by Kostas Tzounopoulos   
Thursday, 20 September 2007

Microsoft Automatic Delivery patent - ZuneLets assume you are a Zune Pass subscriber but at some point you are getting bored of searching for new tracks and downloading them every day. If this new Microsoft Patent will be implemented, your Zune will be able to download new tracks from playlist creators you want or even similar tracks to the ones you already have, using this "Automatic delivery of personalized content to a portable media player with feedback" patent. Is this the PodCast 2.0 ?...



The Abstract:

Automatic download of personalized media content to a portable media device based on user preferences is disclosed. A media service can evaluate content on a user's media device as well as user action related thereto to infer the user's preferences, and can automatically aggregate and download content that is relevant to the user's tastes. The user can subscribe to, for example, playlists generated by the media service, another user's playlist(s), a simulated radio station, etc., and can receive content updates thereto at predefined intervals and/or upon release of the updates. In this manner, the user can periodically receive media content that is personalized to the user without requiring the user to explicitly request the content or synchronize to a PC.


Microsoft automatic delivery patent - Zune


The description of the system above:

FIG. 2 is an illustration of a system 200 that facilitates automatic transfer of personalized music content to a user’s media library and/or portable music player, in accordance with various aspects.

The system 200 can comprise a music service 202 that can provide music files (e.g., songs, MP3s, music videos, MPEGs, WAVs, . . . ) for download to one or more portable media devices 206 and/or associated media libraries 204 via the Internet or some other interface. For instance, a user can explicitly download a song to the portable media device 206 or to the media library 204, or both.

The media library 204 can reside in the portable media device 206 (e.g., as a memory component, . . . ) or can be a separate entity from the portable media device 206. If separate, the portable media device 206 can communicate with the media library 204 to retrieve songs upon request.

Additionally, the music service 202 can automatically download personalized content to the media library 204, which can be content that is not explicitly requested by the user. For example, a user can provide information related to the user’s music preferences (e.g., genre, artist, time period, . . . ), which information can be utilized by the music service 202 to determine content that has a high likelihood of being pleasing to the user.

Additionally, personalized content can be generated and/or downloaded in response to one or more triggering events, in a manner similar to that described above with regard to FIG. 1. For instance, personalized content can be playlist-based, whereby a user A can download a playlist created by user B.

User B can be another customer/subscriber to the music service 202, a content editor, and automated process (e.g., “Top Songs,” “Top Songs by Artist X,” “Sounds Like (insert local radio station),” etc. Upon an update of the downloaded playlist by user B (e.g., a triggering event), user A can automatically receive songs added to the playlist.

For example, the “Top Songs” playlist can comprise a number of top songs (e.g., top 10, top 25, top 100, . . . ) that can be updated daily, weekly, or according to any other suitable schedule, and updating of the playlist at the music service 204 can act as a trigger to cause automatic updating of the playlist in the portable media device 206.

According to another aspect a “Sounds Like xxx.xx FM” can comprise a playlist of songs similar to a particular genre of music played on xxx.xx FM. Additionally or alternatively, the “Sounds Like . . . ” playlist can comprise an actual playlist of songs played on the particular radio station over a predetermined time period. This aspect can be facilitated by permitting an additional subscription, a premium subscription, or the like, if desired.

According to another example, personalized content downloaded from the music service 202 to the media library 204 can be user-based. For example, user A can subscribe to User B (e.g., another customer/subscriber, a content editor, etc.) and can automatically receive any playlists (and songs therein) that are created by user B.

An update of a user B playlist can serve as a trigger to automatically download songs, corresponding to the updates, to user A’s portable device.

In a similar manner, personalized content can be user-recommended, such as where user A can receive automatic downloads of songs, albums, playlists, or other media that are recommended to user A by user B.

To further this Example, user B can be a content editor, such as a playlist generator sponsored or employed by a manufacturer or company (e.g., a shoe manufacturer, a sports apparel manufacturer, an advertising company, . . . ). For instance, in the event that the content editor is associated with an athletic shoe manufacturer, the editor can update a workout playlist (e.g., comprising upbeat song tracks, . . . ) according to a predetermined schedule (e.g., weekly, daily, . . . ), which can be automatically downloaded to the portable media player 206 and/or the media library 204 whenever the playlist is updated.

According to another example, user B can be content editor associated with a company that sells aroma-therapy products, and can generate playlists comprising soothing song tracks and the like. It will be appreciated that the foregoing examples are provided for illustrative purposes only, and are not intended to limited the types and/or numbers of playlists, companies, products, etc., that can be employed in conjunction with the various aspects presented herein.

According to yet another example, personalized content can be music-service-recommended. For instance, the music service 202 can employ a plurality of factors to facilitate evaluating content for automatic download to the media library 204, and thereby to the portable media device 206.

According to this example, content already residing in the user’s media library 204 can be evaluated to glean information related to user preferences and the like. Similarly, information related to a number of times a particular song is played or is skipped, as well as song rating information (e.g., by the user, by all or a subset of users who have downloaded the song, . . . ), can be evaluated to facilitate inferring personalized content for the user.

Still furthermore, the personalized content can be music-service-device-recommended, which is similar to music-service-recommended personalized content except that such a recommendation is independent of the music service.

This latter recommendation can be achieved by evaluating information associated with files in the portable media device 206, which information can include the above (e.g., ratings, play events, skip events, . . . ) as well as explicitly downloaded songs. Such information is illustrated by the “Usage Data” arrow connecting both the media library 204 and the portable media device 206 to the music service block 202.

According to yet another aspect, as a user manages and interacts with the media library 204 and or content on the portable music device 206, the user’s “overall taste profile” and/or “portable music player profile” can be updated.

These changes can directly influence the songs that are recommended and automatically downloaded by the music service 202 and, as a result, can affect the content placed into the user’s media library 204 and/or portable media player 206.

If a user adds content to a portable music player that has recommended content on it, the user-added content is “explicitly added content” that will take priority over recommended or personalized content, and the personalized content that was pushed to the device can be removed. Similarly, if a user’s taste changes, a list of recommended music can change and, as a result, content pushed to the device can be removed.

Still other aspects relate to providing user prompts for user approval, ratification, or the like, of added content, content slated for removal, etc. For instance a user can be presented with a list of songs that are slated for removal to make room for newly downloaded content, and can approve deletion thereof either wholesale or individually.

In this manner a user can selectively retain songs or other media that may have been previously downloaded as personalized content, explicitly downloaded, or otherwise. 


Microsoft Automatic delivery patent - Zune


Description of Figure 8: 

FIG. 8 is an illustration of a methodology 800 for automatically pushing personalized media content to a subscriber and prioritizing media content at the subscriber's media device, in accordance with various aspects. At 802, usage data can be transmitted from a user's media device to a music service. The usage data can comprise information related to media files on stored in the media device and user action(s) with regard thereto. For example, usage information can comprise a number of times the user has played a song in a predefined time period, a number of times a song has been skipped (e.g., when the song's play time in a playlist arises, . . . ), song(s) that were explicitly downloaded by the user, songs that were downloaded as personalized content (e.g., not expressly downloaded by user), or any other suitable information as described above. The personalized content can be downloaded to the user's media device upon a triggering event, which can comprise, for example, a specified temporal point, a recommendation (e.g., from another user, the media service, from the user device, . . . ), a newly released song or album, an update to a playlist or playlists to which the user has subscribed, or any other suitable triggering event, at 804.

In the event that that content needs to be removed from the media device (e.g., due to a memory limit that can be absolute, set by the user, etc.), content on the media device can be rated to determine which files to remove in order to make memory space available for incoming personalized content. For instance, a score can be assigned to each file stored in the device based on various factors, which may include without being limited to number of plays in a time period, number of skips in a time, whether the file was explicitly downloaded by the user or was downloaded automatically as personalized content, total time the file has been on the media device, etc., as described above. The N files with the lowest scores can be deleted at 806 to make room for N incoming files, where N is an integer that can be predefined or set by the user. Additionally, the user can be presented with a prompt to approve deletion of the N files, either individually or all at once.

At 808, the personalized media that has been automatically downloaded at 804 can be stored in available memory in, for example, a media library in the media device. Additionally, usage data can be updated at 810 based on the new content, and can be updated continuously and/or periodically during usage until a next triggering event occurs. The updated usage data can be provided to the media service (e.g., periodically, continuously, . . . ) to permit another iteration of the method at 802, and further automated download of personalized content to the user's device. In this manner, the user's media device can be populated with fresh, new media that is highly related to the user's preferences without requiring the user to explicitly request the media. 

Automatic delivery of personalized content to a portable media player with feedback (Patent No 20070220552, 20 September 2007, filled on 15 March 2006)
Patent Figures

[via ZDnet


Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 September 2007 )
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