MOG’s much anticipated All Access music service launches today for anyone to come and give it a try. I’ve been using the service for the last few weeks and, despite my initial skepticism over the fact that users must pay for the service, I’ve been impressed. MOG makes millions of songs available users on demand over the Internet. The user experience and social aspects of the service put it far ahead of any online music service available today, and it’s well worth the $5/month.
All Access is a nearly flawless product that is an absolute joy to use.
MOG, founded in 2005, was essentially a social music portal and advertising network until today. But they’ve been working on this All Access product for well over a year now, hoping at first to provide it free to consumers. But the big music label’s willingness to dabble in free streaming music to consumers is clearly waning – and so MOG was forced to charge users for the service.
And I think a lot of users may just be willing to pay for the service once they realize how much better it is than it’s most obvious competitor, MySpace Music.
For whatever reason MySpace has been slow to iterate on its year-old service. The service remains slow and buggy. Getting to and listening to music requires more steps than it should. And the advertising is often intrusive. Perhaps it’s the fact that they have to pay every time a user listens to a song, but sometimes it just seems like MySpace Music is trying to slow you down rather and add friction to the music experience.
MOG, by contrast, just flies. Searching, discovering, saving and listening to music is intuitive and fun. The social aspects of the service let you share and discover new music with friends. And the user experience will be an inspiration to the next generation of web designers.
And as if that wasn’t enough, MOG Radio, a feature of All Access, is just about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Or rather, heard.
Our complete overview of the service is below. But don’t rely on us, give it a try. MOG is letting people test the service for free for an hour, without any obligation (no credit card required). And we’re also pleased to give 250 TechCrunch readers a one month free membership to MOG All Access. Just email TechCrunch@MOG.com, first come first serve.
Music Library: MOG has songs from all four major labels: Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and EMI Music. And they also a deep collection of indies as well. If the music is legally available anywhere online, it’ll likely be available on MOG.
Overall user experience: Prepare to be shocked. Everything is as it should be. Music is played via a fully controllable pop up window, so you don’t have to stay on the full site. You’ll see album art and information on the song currently being played. Related music is listed below the song, or, if you’re listening to a playlist, other songs on the list. There are no restrictions on skipping or changing songs at all, and the service responds as quickly and crisply as if it were a desktop application.
One feature I love – lyrics for whatever song you’re listening to are one click away.
Search & Discovery: It’s awesome. Search by artist, album or song. Or a combination. Search is very fast – as I said above, it’s a lot like using a desktop application like iTunes to search for music sitting on your hard drive.
And if you can’t think of what you want to listen to, check out the playlists that others have created and made public. MOG ranks them using an algorithm to push the most popular and most played lists to the top. Or find other users who you share music tastes with and follow them. You’ll see what they’re listening to.
MOG Radio: This is worth the $5/month alone. If you’re a Pandora fan you’ll know the joy of typing in a song or artist you love and listening to music from other related artists. It’s an amazing way to discover new music. But MOG goes way beyond what Pandora offers. Not only are there no ads and you can skip songs at will without limitations, they let you decide exactly what you want to listen to.
Only want to hear David Bowie songs? No problem. Just keep the slider (see image) all the way to the left. But if you want a more Pandora-like experience, slide it to the right and get some Iggy Pop, Queen, Duran Duran and other artists you might like as well.
Pandora doesn’t let you just listen to one artist because it changes the nature of their music license from radio to on-demand. MOG doesn’t care because they pay a set fee per user per month to the labels no matter how much music you listen to. So if there’s band you love and don’t want to bother creating a playlist, just type it in, set the music slider to the left, and listen to as much of their music as you want.
Library And Playlists: If you stumble onto a song you love, you can one-click save it to your library or put it into a playlist. See more on playlists in our post here.
Wish List: As I said, MOG is nearly flawless. But I do have a few requests. First, I’d like to be able to type two or three artists into search and create a radio station on the fly that only plays those artists. MOG says that is something they’re considering. Another request – I’d love it if MOG could scan my iTunes collection and automatically add all those songs and Playlists to my MOG library.