A new system devised by a pair of UCLA students could well bring democracy to music selection at parties. The two scientists have created a software-and-antennae combo that currently works on laptops, scanning people's music collections, grabbing the most popular tunes from guests' MP3 players and adding them to the night's playlist. The next step will be to see if Smart Party can be made to work on MP3 players (currently it only works on laptops), polling partygoers' music devices as they arrive at the party. More info below.Kevin Eustice and Peter Reiher have built and tested a version that works perfectly using playlists stored inside laptops running their software, but since very few (sober) people stroll into a party with one of those tucked under their arm, they're aiming it at Wi-Fi-enabled MP3 players. Since Smart Party can triangulate people's position, it can also deduct their votes when they leave the party, making everything all fair and square. The one stumbling block is DRM, since copying the tracks into the system even temporarily isn't exactly RIAA-friendly activity.
It's a good idea, and it sure would make for a pretty eclectic set to groove away to, but for that one fatal DRM flaw. They're pinning their hopes on a temporary porting of the license, otherwise it would be limited to DRM-free tracks
shame. We imagine it wouldn't go down too well at foam parties, either, but you wouldn't be able to hear your fave track from your soaked iPhone with all that foam in your ear anyway, would you? [New Scientist]