As the Web is stuffed with more and more content, we’re increasingly in need of good curators to help us discover the things we’ll love amidst the noise. Flipboard, for one, rose to popularity by transforming your favorite digital news sources into a socially-curated mobile magazine. Shuffler.fm is on a mission to do the same for music discovery, combining Flipboard’s successful formula with a little Pandora and a little ex.fm. The result is what the Amsterdam-based startup is calling a “radiozine” — a music discovery guide that turns the industry’s popular blogs and websites into mobile radio stations.
Launching its iPad app in November, Shuffler.fm aggregates content from a long list of mainstream and niche music sites, allowing users to peruse and discover tunes based on genre and style. The service also lets fans check out top songs based on what’s trending or watch the song’s videos, while acting as a reader for analysis and news from original sources.
Today, Shuffler is officially bringing its radiozine-style music discovery service to the iPhone and iPod Touch, along with giving us a sneak peek at the debut of its Spotify app. More on that last bit later.
Since November, the startup has been tinkering with its iPad app, adding features and sources — to the point where the app now pulls in content from hundreds of sources. Its new iPhone app offers a similar experience to its iPad app, with the benefit of the optimizations and tweaks pushed over the last six months.
While startups like Echo Nest are developing better, smarter ways to serve people music they’ll love (based on taste profile, listening history and other social and contextual cues), the fact of the matter is that there’s a lot of content out there and even the best services still serve a lot of irrelevant songs.
By sucking in content from those niche, underground blogs (who often get access to songs ahead of their release), Shuffler gives music fans an opportunity to discover songs before they go mainstream. Plus, the curation is coming from humans, and experts, so you don’t have to worry about some purely machine-based algorithms deciding what you should be hearing.
The app asks users to sign in using Facebook or by setting up an account, after which you can begin searching for songs by category (Magazine, Trending, Genres, etc.), read articles and play some hot jams. Another cool feature is the app’s subscribe feature, allowing users to receive alerts and notifications when news breaks about a particular artist, or a new song is released. This also extends to blogs, enabling you to follow one or multiple to get that Flipboard-esque magazine feel populated by the latest content.
What’s more, as a former occasional music scribe for not-so-mainstream outlets, I love that Shuffler’s value prop includes a potential benefit to those publishers. If the app really takes off, it won’t just be Shuffler riding into the sunset while blogs power its music discovery. Shuffler loads the original source’s page within the app and thus could end up sending a lot of clicks and eyeballs to those sites. And, beyond music, help users discover niche publishers they might not have otherwise. If they add a revenue share, it could really get me jazzed.
Ultimately, if you’re one who likes discovering music (speedily) before it gets recycled endlessly on the radio (hipsters?), then Shuffler is worth checking out. The app is pretty easy to navigate and the user experience really centers around that discovery.
As to what’s next? Well if you happen to be a big fan of Spotify’s app integration, then you might be pleased to learn that Shuffler will soon be showing up in the Spotify ecosystem (if approved). Like its brethren, the Spotify app lets users check out cover art, photos and posts, while listening to music recommended by Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Fader, XLR8R, etc. Oh, and an Android app is of course in the works.
iPhone app here, Spotify teaser below.
Shuffler aggregates music from around the web by genre. On our home page we have a list of channels. Click in one of them and we’ll send you to a blog post about a song. The song will start playing. The song finishes, we send you to another song. History repeats itself.