Signal Patterns is a company that tries to help you discover the real you by learning more about yourself. They have created a music product called Music Patterns which was just released publicly today. The process of self-discovery begins by listening to a variety of different music samples and rating them from disliking to liking something a lot. The entire process only takes a few minutes.
Once the survey is complete, you are given the results in a dashboard-style presentation. In addition to your results, the service provides actual music recommendations, lets you connect with like minded people, and a playlist tool (based on imeem). Music Patterns is pretty good at determining what you like - in my case it lets me know i like instrumental, intelligent and complex music. However it interprets that as thinking i would like Rush and Yes - two bands I completely despise. I think it miserably fails in determining what i dislike. For instance it tells me that i do not like music with amplified instruments or music played at ear shattering volume - i think my Rock and electronica heavy CD collection and 20+ years of concert going will tell you a different story.
An audio-based survey fails because while it can somewhat determine aspects of music i may gravitate toward or repel from. Its not that i dont like loud music - i didnt like the loud music they were playing. Its not that i don’t like percussive music - i actually love it - but the few examples they played were not representative of the style i like. Many songs i disliked because i had negative associations with the genre not the mood - just because i dont like smooth jazz does not mean i dont like smooth music. Finally and most importantly, this type of survey ignores meaning and interpretation. Its like the Charlton Heston scene in Waynes World - every genre has its true artists and its dime-a-dozen mediocrity - play me a song from a master and i will react differently than i would from hearing a wannabe.