IF YOU Still Haven’t Found what you’re Looking For in terms of music, you should trust to your emotions and the fans of U2.

According to research at the University of Strathclyde, all of it based on work by the fans of Irish rock legends U2, emotions can inform searches and recommendations in online music providers.

Dr Diane Pennington, a Lecturer in Strathclyde’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences studied 150 music videos made by U2 fans uncovered a range of methods, both visual and musical, used to convey emotion, through location, style of music and video content.

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Dr Pennington concluded: “Although music holds no emotion in itself, it can elicit very deep emotions in listeners and performers.”

The research found that the videos, and viewers’ responses to them, were highly individual.

Dr Pennington said: “The emotion music evokes is the main reason people listen to it and many would like to be able to search for music videos that meet an emotional need, such as a desire to be cheered up.

“However, information retrieval systems, such as those used in video streaming sites, don’t currently support this well. To advance these systems, new systems need to be envisioned that go beyond traditional keyword-based or subject-based queries and process information requirements in new ways.

“I chose the Song For Someone clips as a case study after U2 called for fans to make them. This was because it would be a rich source of information and because, for their fans, U2’s songs and concerts are highly emotional.

“Many of the cover versions were personalised by people recording their own versions in their houses or bedrooms, or including images of their loved ones. Others signified their devotion to U2 by using their original version to accompany the clip or by including U2 paraphernalia, like t-shirts, posters and photos.

“Emotions are difficult to define tangibly and describing them in a way which could benefit information retrieval presents a challenge. However, this research could inform commercial music service providers on how they might include emotional factors in their recommendations.

“Allowing retrieval system users to search, browse and retrieve by positive emotions could also have a contribution to make to music therapy.”