Title:
System and method for providing conditional background music for user-generated content and broadcast media
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system and method for providing conditional background music for user-generated content and broadcast videos. The method includes: detecting that a particular song is specified to serve as background music for a particular media content; searching for the particular song to serve as background music for the particular media content; and checking whether an end user of the particular media content has rights to the particular song and that the particular song is available. When the particular song is available, the particular song is returned for playback as the background music to the particular media content. When the particular song is not available, searching is conducted for another song as a substitute song based upon preferences of both an author and the end user of the particular media content. Other embodiments are disclosed.



Inventors:
Curtis, Scott (Durham, NC, US)
Petersen, Steve (Los Gatos, CA, US)
Katpelly, Ravi (Durham, NC, US)
Phillips, Andrew (Raleigh, NC, US)
Application Number:
12/656530
Publication Date:
02/16/2012
Filing Date:
02/02/2010
Assignee:
Porto Technology, LLC (Wilmington, DE, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
700/94, 707/759, 707/E17.014, 707/E17.101, 726/28
International Classes:
G06F17/30; G06F21/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
LE, MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Concert Technology Corporation (Peterborough, NH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method, operating in a media system, of providing conditional background music for media content, comprising: detecting that a particular song is specified to serve as background music for a particular media content; searching for the particular song to serve as background music for the particular media content; checking whether an end user of the particular media content has rights to the particular song and that the particular song is available; when the particular song is available, returning the particular song for playback as the background music to the particular media content; and when the particular song is not available, searching for another song as a substitute song based upon preferences of both an author and the end user of the particular media content.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the media content comprises one of a video content, an audiobook content, web page content, a photo slideshow content, presentation slide content, blog entry content, audio tour content, or interactive billboard content.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein when there is not a match for the substitute song, the method further comprises: searching for possible alternative matches based on one or more of the following criteria: 1) availability of a song that exists on an album other than the song selected, 2) availability of a song by the same artist; 3) availability of a song in a same genre; 4) availability of a song of a similar mood; 5) preferences of the end user for likes and dislikes for musical content; or 6) availability of one or more songs previously determined to be matches for the media content for members of a social network of the end user.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the substitute song is similar to the particular song in accordance with one or more preferences of the author and the end user.

5. The method of claim 2, wherein the substitute song is based on the preferences of both the author and the end user of the particular media content for creating a hierarchical stack of preferred music for the particular media content relating to one or more of genre, type, band, artist, or style.

6. The method of claim 1, further comprising characterizing the particular song by criteria comprising one or more of mood, tempo, or dynamic range, and then searching for the substitute song based on the criteria.

7. The method of claim 2, further comprising checking whether the end user of the particular media content has rights for the substitute song, and retrieving a copy of the substitute song and integrating the substitute song into the particular media content.

8. A system for providing conditional background music for media content, comprising: means for detecting that a particular song is specified to serve as background music for a particular media content; means for searching for the particular song to serve as the background music for the particular media content; means for checking whether an end user of the particular media content has rights to the particular song and that the particular song is available; means for returning the particular song, if the particular song is available, for playback as the background music to the particular media content; and means for searching for another song as a substitute song, if the particular song is not available, based upon preferences of both an author and the end user of the particular media content.

9. The system of claim 8, further comprising: means for searching for possible alternative substitute songs based on one or more of the following criteria: 1) availability of a song that exists on an album other than the song selected, 2) availability of a song by the same artist; 3) availability of a song in a same genre; 4) availability of a song of a similar mood; 5) preferences of the end user for likes and dislikes for musical content; or 6) availability of one or more songs previously determined to be matches for the media content for members of a social network of the end user.

10. The system of claim 8, wherein the substitute song is similar to the particular song in accordance with one or more preferences of the author and the end user.

11. The system of claim 8, wherein the substitute song is based on the preferences of both the author and the end user of the particular media content for creating a hierarchical stack of preferred music for the particular media content relating to one or more of genre, type, band, artist, or style.

12. The system of claim 8, further comprising means for checking whether the end user of the particular media content has rights for the substitute song, and then retrieving a copy of the substitute song and integrating the substitute song into the particular media content.

13. A computer readable medium comprising a program for instructing a media system to: detect that a particular song is specified to serve as background music for a particular media content; search for the particular song to serve as background music for the particular media content; check whether an end user of the particular media content has rights to the particular song and that the particular song is available; when the particular song is available, return the particular song for playback as the background music to the particular media content; and when the particular song is not available, search for another song as a substitute song based upon preferences of both an author and the end user of the particular media content.

14. The computer readable medium of claim 13, wherein the media content comprises one of a video content, an audiobook content, web page content, a photo slideshow content, presentation slide content, blog entry content, audio tour content, or interactive billboard content.

15. The computer readable medium of claim 13, wherein when there is not a match for the substitute song, the method further comprises: searching for possible alternative matches based on one or more of the following criteria: 1) availability of a song that exists on an album other than the song selected, 2) availability of a song by the same artist; 3) availability of a song in a same genre; 4) availability of a song of a similar mood; 5) preferences of the end user for likes and dislikes for musical content; or 6) availability of one or more songs previously determined to be matches for the media content for members of a social network of the end user.

16. The computer readable medium of claim 13, wherein the substitute song is similar to the particular song in accordance with one or more preferences of the author and the end user.

17. The computer readable medium of claim 14, wherein the substitute song is based on the preferences of both the author and the end user of the particular media content for creating a hierarchical stack of preferred music for the particular media content relating to one or more of genre, type, band, artist, or style.

18. The computer readable medium of claim 13, further comprising characterizing the particular song by criteria comprising one or more of mood, tempo, or dynamic range, and then searching for the substitute song based on the criteria.

19. The computer readable medium of claim 14, further comprising checking whether the end user of the particular media content has rights for the substitute song, and retrieving a copy of the substitute song and integrating the substitute song into the particular media content.

20. A background music service, comprising: a background music media client which requests conditional background music for media content for playback; a background music client which is operative to specify conditional background music for the media content based upon preferences of both an author and an end user of the media content; and a background music service server which receives data regarding the specified conditional background music along with information about the media content from the background music client, wherein, in response to a request for conditional background music from the background music media client, the background music service server sends the data regarding the specified conditional background music and options to the background music media client.

21. The background music service of claim 20, wherein the background music media client comprises a conditional background music media player which determines audio tracks that match the closest to the data regarding the specified conditional background music.

22. The background music service of claim 21, wherein the background music media client further comprises an audio library that stores a plurality of audio tracks.

23. The background music service of claim 21, wherein the background music media client further comprises a media player for playback of the media content and accompanying background music.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/149,220 filed on Feb. 2, 2009, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a media system and, more particularly, to a system and method for providing background music for media content.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

With the advent and proliferation of user-generated content (UGC) including blogs, videos, photos, audios, etc., people are always looking for innovative ways to take advantage of the interactive opportunities of user-generated content, and to have instant access to a worldwide audience via the Internet to present their own creative work while bypassing the conventional media outlets.

Thus, it would be beneficial to provide users with additional tools to facilitate the creation of user-generated content including videos and/or audio content without running afoul of legal guidelines including copyright laws.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Systems and methods consistent with the present invention relate to improving the way in which users specify “conditional background music” to be played as an audio accompaniment for their generated media content, so that they can be sure that any music that is played is played within legal guidelines and in such a way that the accompanying music accommodates both the author's and the end users' preferences. Thus, users of video portal sites like YouTube® can post videos that use popular music as background audio without violating copyright laws.

Moreover, systems and methods consistent with the present invention provide for the playback of conditional background music for posted videos based on both the author's preferences and the end user's preferences.

Systems and methods consistent with the present invention also allow media content authors not only to designate particular songs, but types or classes of music to serve as the accompaniment for their publicly posted media content.

According to one aspect, the present invention provides a method, operating in a media system, of providing conditional background music for media content, including: detecting that a particular song is specified to serve as background music for a particular media content; searching for the particular song to serve as background music for the particular media content; checking whether an end user of the particular media content has rights to the particular song and that the particular song is available; when the particular song is available, returning the particular song for playback as the background music to the particular media content; and when the particular song is not available, then searching for another song as a substitute song based upon preferences of both an author and the end user of the particular media content.

In the method, the media content may be video content.

According to another aspect of the present invention, a system for providing conditional background music for media content, includes: means for detecting that a particular song is specified to serve as background music for a particular media content; means for searching for the particular song to serve as the background music for the particular media content; means for checking whether an end user of the particular media content has rights to the particular song and that the particular song is available; when the particular song is available, means for returning the particular song for playback as the background music to the particular media content; and when the particular song is not available, means for searching for another song as a substitute song based upon preferences of both an author and the end user of the particular media content.

The present invention also contemplates a computer readable medium including a program for instructing a media system to: detect that a particular song is specified to serve as background music for a particular media content; search for the particular song to serve as background music for the particular media content; check whether an end user of the particular media content has rights to the particular song and that the particular song is available; when the particular song is available, return the particular song for playback as the background music to the particular media content; and when the particular song is not available, then search for another song as a substitute song based upon preferences of both an author and the end user of the particular media content.

The present invention also provides a background music service, including: a background music media client which requests conditional background music for media content (e.g., a video) for playback; a background music client which is operative to specify conditional background music for the media content based upon preferences of both an author and an end user of the media content; and a background music service server which receives data regarding the specified conditional background music along with information about the media content from the background music client, wherein, in response to a request for conditional background music from the background music media client, the background music service server sends the data regarding the specified conditional background music and options to the background music media client.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate the scope of the present invention and realize additional aspects thereof after reading the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments in association with the accompanying drawing figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

The accompanying drawing figures incorporated in and forming a part of this specification illustrate several aspects of the invention, and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention.

FIG. 1 illustrates a background music service according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 depicts an example of a graphical user interface (GUI) at a background music client according to an illustrative embodiment;

FIG. 3 illustrates a background music media client according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 depicts an illustrative embodiment of a method operating in the system of FIGS. 1-3; and

FIG. 5 depicts an example where a user at a UGC portal site designates “Conditional Background Music” for their generated media content (e.g., a video) according to an illustrative embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The embodiments set forth below represent the necessary information to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention. Upon reading the following description in light of the accompanying drawing figures, those skilled in the art will understand the concepts of the invention and will recognize applications of these concepts not particularly addressed herein. It should be understood that these concepts and applications fall within the scope of the disclosure and the accompanying claims.

Note that at times the system of the present invention is described as performing a certain function. However, one of ordinary skill in the art would know that the program is what is performing the function rather than the entity of the system itself. Further, embodiments of the present invention can be implemented in hardware, software, or a combination thereof.

Although aspects of one implementation of the present invention are depicted as being stored in memory, one skilled in the art will appreciate that all or part of systems and methods consistent with the present invention may be stored on or read from other computer-readable media, such as secondary storage devices, like hard disks, floppy disks, and CD-ROM, or other forms of a read-only memory (ROM) or random access memory (RAM) either currently known or later developed. Further, although specific components of the system have been described, one skilled in the art will appreciate that a system suitable for use with the methods and systems consistent with the present invention may contain additional or different components.

As indicated above, systems and methods consistent with the present invention allow users to designate particular songs or types/classes of music to serve as the accompaniment for their publicly posted media content.

For example, by way of brief overview, media content authors can create an “accompaniment hierarchy” so that if a media content author specifies that a particular song should serve as background music for a particular media segment (e.g., a video segment), the following hierarchy will be followed:

1. If a viewer of the particular video segment has rights to the particular song and the particular song is available on the viewer's system, the particular song will play as the background music to the particular video segment—which is exactly the experience the author of the video segment intends.

2. If a viewer of the particular video segment does not have rights to the particular song, a “similar” song that the viewer does have rights for and is available on the viewer's system will serve as a “substitute song” and will play as the background music to the video segment—which is a close approximation of the experience the author of the video segment intends. The selection of the similar song may be based on, for example, but not limited to, author and/or end user preferences for creating a hierarchical “stack” of preferred music for a particular scene relating to genre, type, band, artist, style, etc.

3. An automated system consistent with the present invention can simply check with the viewer's system to ensure that the user/viewer of the particular video segment has rights for the “substitute song(s),” and then the system can retrieve a copy of the substitute song(s) from the system's affiliated server so that the system can then perfectly integrate the substitute song seamlessly and “professionally” into the viewing experience.

The system can also use more sophisticated methods for background song substitutions than by the “stack approach” mentioned above. A more complex approach for substitution can be used when the musical tastes of the author and the viewer of the video segment are quite different. For example, a viewer may want to see a skateboard video segment, but prefers Christian rock to heavy metal as the background music. In this case, if the initial file was a “miss” when searching for an appropriate substitute song, then there would be a high likelihood that subsequent stack items would also not be acceptable as substitutes.

In this scenario where a more sophisticated method would be beneficial, the system can automatically characterize the author's selected music by mood, tempo, dynamic range, etc. (orthogonal to genre/artist). This approach is more like designing a musical score, and then allowing users to pick a genre or artist and have the system create the score by analyzing the genres or artists' music against the criteria and pick the closest fit.

The above example, and other examples throughout this document, involving videos (e.g., movies, television shows, commercials, UGC videos, etc.) are presented by way of example only, and are not meant to limit the scope of the present invention. Other media content can also benefit from conditional accompanying music (e.g., background music or a musical interlude) including, but not limited to, such media content items as audiobooks, web pages, photo slideshows, presentation slides, blog entries, audio tours, interactive billboards, etc.). These and other media content types contemplated by those of skill in the relevant art(s) upon a reading of this specification are to be included within the scope of the present invention.

A more detailed description of the systems and methods consistent with the present invention will now follow with reference to the accompanying drawings.

Background Music Service

FIG. 1 illustrates a background music service 100 according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 1, the background music service 100 stores data on background music for use with media content and accepts background music information from background music clients.

The background music service 100 includes two clients, e.g., the background music client 15 and a background music media client 20, as described below, that provide and manage information for the management of the background music. The background music service 100 can operate using one or more servers (e.g., background music service server 12). Content is fed by the background music client 15 which can be used by the background music media client 20 as will be discussed in more detail below with reference to FIG. 3. More specifically, the background music client 15 operates to allow the media content author to specify background music for segments of media content. The background music client 15 sends the data along with information about the media content to the background music service server 12 as shown by arrow 1. The background music media client 20 requests the conditional background music for video content as shown by arrow 2. The background music service server 12 then returns/sends the conditional background music data and options to the background music media client 20 as shown by arrow 3.

The background music service 100 stores content in a database, or databases (not shown), to be retrieved by the background music media client 20. The data can be protected such that only the creator can retrieve the data, or based upon preferences that might use a friend's list from a third party service (e.g., Facebook®, MySpace®, etc.), or simply be left open. The background music service 100 also stores and communicates with remote content databases (not shown) to store the actual media content. Communication with the background music service 100 can be via simple web services, sockets, or http RESTful mechanisms.

Once the media content, such as a video segment, is processed for conditional background music by the author, the background music selections are sent to a background music server (e.g., a content producer 25) for storage as shown by arrow 4. An acknowledgement of the background music selections is returned to the background music client 15 along with a unique identifier as shown by arrow 5. The unique identifier is created by the service and could be a unique key in the database where the data is stored.

The unique identifier and all of the conditional background music data is then embedded inside an atom (i.e., referring to the Atom format), or whichever embedded data format the media format requires, within the media content to be retrieved at runtime by the background music media client 20. The conditional music data includes, but is not limited to, the artist, song name, genre, length of original content, length of clip, and position in the media content.

Moreover, the background music service 100 has the following functions:

1. Background music client uploads. This allows a user or group of users to manage the background music for a given piece of media content.
2. Background music media client downloads. This allows a media client to download the audio data about a piece of media content: (i) a private model—the content is only viewable to the creator or creators, authentication occurs in the service; (ii) a protected model—the content is only viewable to the creator or creators, and the group of people they allow using some form of external authentication, like Facebook®; or (iii) a public model—the content is viewable by anyone.

In an alternative embodiment, the background music service 100 can be part of a single application that contains all three pieces of functionality on a user's desktop. Or, in another alternative embodiment, the background music service 100 can be part of a single application that contains all three aspects on a server or distributed environment, with a pay for play subscription model. In a still further alternative embodiment, the conditional background music service could be available through a Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) enabled hotspot along with the video player.

Background Music Client

The background music client 15 will now be described in more detail with reference to FIGS. 1-3. The background music client 15 allows a user or a group of users to manage the background music for a given piece of visual media such as video content. The background music client 15 is responsible for gathering information from a local or remote audio content sources to determine what music is available and allow the user to choose. An example of a graphic user interface (GUI) 200 of simple selection is shown in FIG. 2. As shown in FIG. 2, the user can choose, for example, the type of music (e.g., Alternative, Pop, etc.) under the heading Album 30, the Artist 35 and the Track 40 by moving a cursor arrow A over the desired item and clicking on it.

The background music client 15 can be a stand-alone application or a plug-in that works with a media manipulation or upload application. When a media content author has determined that he/she wants conditional background music for particular media content, the media content author would use the application which does the following:

1. Allow the media content author to select media segments or an entire media content item for choosing content.
2. Display music selection options, selecting a song or songs for a given segment from various sources, such as: (i) the local library—a local existing library or search of audio content on a digital media player application or system, e.g., iTunes® or Windows Media Player®; and/or (ii) the external library—a user's external library of purchased content or pay content such as Yahoo! Music®.
3. Allow the media content author to select the music to be played (as shown in FIG. 2).
4. Send music selections and associated metadata about the background music to the background music service server 12 (see arrow 1 in FIG. 1 as noted above).
5. Embed information into media content, such as: (i) a background service in which an identifier for the record as stored in the background music service 100 is embedded in the atom file of the media content; and/or (ii) a music selection in which the music selection is embedded into the atom file along with frame numbers for playback.

The media content author then is able to select a song or songs to be used as conditional background music for each media segment the user has selected in the media content. The media content author has multiple ways to select tracks. For example, one option is the stack selection in which the media content author can select a stack of specific tracks that he/she wants played in a particular preference order for a given media segment. Each song is given a particular weight, and a conditional background music media player 50 (which will be described in more detail below in connection with FIG. 3) will select the songs in that order for a given media segment. Another exemplary option is a type selection in which a media content author can select a song, or songs, and use the selected song(s) as a closest match selection. Further, the conditional background music media player 50 will then attempt to match the selected song(s) as closely as possible to the audio file. The conditional background music media player 50 can use, but is not limited to, the following criteria: (a) beats per minute (BPM)—where beat matching is used to keep the tempo of the song similar to the selected song(s); and/or (b) genre—by matching the genre of the song, and attempting to keep the musical tones similar.

In an alternative embodiment, the audio information can be from a third party pay storage, like the iTunes® store, allowing the media content author to not own the rights to the media but make selections. In another alternative embodiment, the media content author can select groups of music that match allowing for a higher success rate of matching desired music and music collections of users of the background music media client. In a still further alternative embodiment, the client can be on a mobile device, such as a smart phone, allowing a media content author to upload a piece of content. In yet another alternative embodiment, the client can be a full application that allows a media content author to manage both the media content and background music at the same time, yet storing the media content and background music in disparate locations.

Background Music Media Client

FIG. 3 illustrates the details of the background music media client 300 (generally described above and shown in FIG. 1 as background music media client 20) according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

When media content, such as for example a video, is loaded that contains information about conditional background music, either from metadata with the content or from an embedded atom file, the background music media client 300 retrieves the information as described in connection with FIG. 3. More specifically, the background music media client 300 includes the conditional background music media player 50, a media player 60, an audio library 70, and a media server 80. In operation, the video player 60 notifies the conditional background music media player 50 that there is conditional background music for the media or media segment in the initial request shown by arrow 6. The conditional background music media player 50 then makes a request to the background music media server 80 for the conditional background music for the media content item as shown by arrow 7. The media server 80 then returns the conditional background music data to the conditional background music media player 50 as shown by arrow 8, if the end user has rights to the data. The conditional background music media player 50 processes the list of music requested.

A request is made by the conditional background music media player 50 to the audio library 70 for the list of audio tracks that match the background music data as shown by arrow 9. The audio library 70 returns matching audio data as shown by arrow 10, and the conditional background music media player 50 processes the returned data from the audio library 70 and determines what audio tracks match the closest to the background music data. Finally, the conditional background music media player 50 returns the background music to be played to the video player 60 as shown by arrow 11.

The background music media client 300 runs either as a background process or as a plug-in for a media player and works in an asynchronous manner to allow media playback to begin or continue while data is collected and processed. As the media file is loaded it is processed to retrieve information within the atom file or other metadata. If the music media client detects conditional background music data, the background music client is notified. The information that is being retrieved is checked to see if it includes the unique identifier and track information. If either the unique identifier or the track information is found, the following steps occur: (1) A request is made to the background music service server 12 (referring back to FIG. 1), with the following information: (i) the unique identifier that matches the exact piece of media content; and (ii) the current end user information which can be an identifier for the currently active end user so the background music service server 12 can do any authentication needed. Also, (2) the background music service server 12 processes the request and returns the conditional background music or options for each segment.

The background music media client 300 then opens a connection to the audio library, either local or remote, and retrieves a list of musical content. FIG. 4 depicts an illustrative embodiment of a method 400 operating in the system of FIGS. 1-3. As shown in FIG. 4, at step 402, the user (e.g., the author/media content owner) specifies that a particular song should serve as background music for a particular media content. In step 404, a search for exact matches is made, to see if the viewer of the particular media content has rights to the exact song(s) selected, and the system checks to see if the particular song is available on the system. If the particular song is available on the viewer's system, then the system returns the particular song to the media player to play that song as the background music to the particular media content (see step 406). If the author/media content owner made a selection that is not an exact song match to the viewer's library, then in step 408 a request is made to find a “similar” song as a “substitute song” based upon the media content owner's and/or media content viewer's preferences such as, but not limited to, mood, genre, or beats per minute (bmp). A match is then requested based upon that search at step 410 and if one exists, the substitute song will play as the background music to the particular media content as at step 412.

If there is not an exact match based upon content, or if a match cannot be found by using the preferences of the media content owner or media viewer, the background music media player then processes the suggested song and its metadata looking for possible matches in the end user's library as at step 414. These matches can be based on, but are not to be limited to, the following:

1. Album—a song that exists on the album other than the one selected is available.
2. Artist—a song by the same artist is available.
3. Genre—a song in the same genre is available.
4. Mood—a song of a similar mood is available.
5. User Preferences—the end user has the ability to have preferences for likes and dislikes for musical content, and these are taken into account as the content is processed.
6. Social Network—one or more songs are available that were previously determined to be matches for the same media content for members (e.g., members denoted as friends, members with similar interests, or other members) of the end user's social network.

Matches are made based upon the above criteria and the file information is gathered to be passed to the media player 60 for playback. The data is handed back to the media player 60 including the location to the audio content which includes: when the audio content needs to be played, for how long, and the information about the audio content for any visual display of the background music to the end user.

In an alternate embodiment, the media client prompts the end user with possible conditional background music choices. In another alternative embodiment, the background music media client is built into a single media player application that exists on the desktop, allowing for the data to be shared and processed more efficiently. In yet another alternative embodiment, the background music media client is built into a single media player that exists in a web application.

Example 1

A User at a UGC Portal Site Designates “Conditional Background Music” for his Video

1. With reference to the use case example 500 of FIG. 5, Jeff wants to post a video of footage he shot at his girlfriend's recent birthday party.
2. For a 4-minute sequence at the beginning of the birthday party, Jeff designates his favorite song (Audioslave's “Gasoline”) to serve as background music for the sequence.
3. Using the application's background music interface, Jeff adjusts the volume and the fades for this song.
4. Jeff also uses the interface to create a conditional audio hierarchy for playback.
5. According to Jeffs designated hierarchy as shown at 505, if viewers of the video of the birthday party have rights to “Gasoline” and it is available on their system, this is the song that will accompany the segment.
6. If a viewer does not have rights to that song, then the system uses the hierarchy 505 (or generates a “closest fit” based on the system's characterization of the music) to determine what should play as background accompaniment instead. For example, first, anything from Audioslave's “Out of Exile” album, or anything from the Coldplay album “Viva la Vida”; next, anything that matches “Gasoline” most closely from Audioslave, Coldplay, Godsmack or Soundgarden; next, anything from the genres Indie Rock, College Rock, Punk, or Rock that most closely matches “Gasoline”.
7. Because of the system of the present invention, every user is digital rights management (DRM) compliant—and they get to listen to the music that they like as accompaniment to Jeffs video of the birthday party.

Example 2

A Viewer of an Episode of “Gossip Girls” Makes Use of the “Conditional Background Music” Feature to Automatically Customize an Episode with her Own Music

1. Buffy loves “Gossip Girls,” but she loves it even more when the background music more closely matches her favorite music.
2. Buffy has discovered that she can now quickly customize episodes of the show to match her musical preferences using the present invention. The show can be provided by websites that offer streaming video of TV shows and movies from various commercial networks and studios.
3. The producers of the show have enabled a feature called “conditional background music” consistent with the present invention, and they have designated “stacks” of particular songs that can be used as the background music for segments of the episodes.
4. Instead of having to rely on a one-taste-fits-all approach, Buffy can now designate particular songs, bands, and genres that should be used in the episodes, and the system of the present invention seamlessly integrates these choices into the ambient audio of the programs she watches.
5. When Buffy watches episode 3 of season 2 of “Gossip Girls”, she hears “Fall Out Boy” during the kissing sequences. Her friend “Muffin” hears her favorite Emo band during those same sequences. Both are extremely happy about this customization of their viewing experience.

The present invention has substantial opportunity for variation without departing from the spirit or scope of the present invention. For example, while the embodiments discussed herein are directed to personal or in-home playback, the present invention is not limited thereto. Further, while the examples refer to video/audio content, the present invention is not limited thereto and other forms of media content are contemplated herein.

Those skilled in the art will recognize improvements and modifications to the preferred embodiments of the present invention. All such improvements and modifications are considered within the scope of the concepts disclosed herein and the claims that follow.