I’m the type of music listener who finds one album he likes and listens to it constantly for about 6 months. Then I move onto the next album. One that’s often old. Part of the reason for this is that I don’t have a really good way to find new music. Pandora is basically my radio and finds me good stuff some of the time, but it’s usually either old music or stuff I already own. If I want to be hip to what’s new, I rely on my social graph to recommend things. And exfm is maybe the perfect tool for that.
Previously, exfm was known as ExtensionFM, but with the latest version (version 2), they’ve changed up their branding and launched a wide range of new features. The key to the entire thing is still the Google Chrome extension. When installed, it allows you to browse the web as you normally would, but it alerts you when playable music files are on a webpage. If you find one, you can listen to it with the exfm player, or you can add it to your queue to listen to at anytime. You can even keep browsing to other sites and exfm remembers where it found the music, so it will stream continuously from there.
With the new version, you can also “note” songs. Essentially, this is a “favorite” or “like” mechanism. It allows you to tag songs to your exfm profile that anyone can then visit and see what you’re recommending. These profile pages are a new feature in the latest version of the service as well, and they make it so you can follow other users with musical tastes you enjoy. And yes, there’s an activity stream on the main page of exfm.
Of course, the most important part of a social music experience is sharing it. So exfm also allows you to tweet out songs, post them to Facebook, or create entries with them on Tumblr (and you can send song links via email too). The Twitter integration is really killer because if you have the extension installed, you can listen to music shared via exfm inline on the new twitter.com. This ability to post to Facebook and Twitter is also great because it makes these services brilliant music discovery tools. If people start sharing via exfm, you’ll have a digital jukebox made entirely from social recommendations.
So. The big question. Is all of this legal? It would seem so because exfm isn’t actually hosting any music at all. All they’ve done is create a player (by way of the extension) that allows you to find and play music hosted elsewhere. It’s a smart idea, and a great execution.
Exfm is currently a four man team based in New York City. They previously raised seed funding from Spark, Betaworks, Founder Collection, and Dave Morgan. While they remain Chrome only for now, the plan is to extend to other browsers as well with similar extensions in the near future.
Find a direct link to the Chrome extension here.