Musicstrands is a music discovery and search engine that I wrote about last December. They launched new features recently (including some today) that make it an excellent side service to whatever music player you use.
Co-founder Gabriel Aldamiz-Echevarria took me through some of their new features last week. MusicStrands works best as a companion to iTunes (they have a PC plugin available on the home page, a Mac version is coming soon (I am testing an unreleased beta on my machine and it works great).
The service watches what you listen to, and starts to draw associations based on those behaviors. If you have a number of songs included in a playlist, they become associated. If you listen to a group of songs, they become associated, etc. “We are building a huge matrix of correlations between songs and artists” Gabriel said in explaining it to me. And users can use that matrix to discover new music and build playlists.
Here are some of the new features:
- playlist builder, it basically tells you: other people who have the same music as you have, and want to listen to the same type of music as you want to listen to now, they would build playlists with the proposed songs. For those who have thousands of songs, this is a key feature to help them rediscover their music libraries, and help them fill their iPods. If you use the iTunes plugin, MusicStrands will look at the current music that you have in your library and help you build playlists from that music. This is absolutely killer – I have so much music that I’ve never listened to (ripping friends cds, etc.).
- The m-charts, the coolest is the m-chart of your “recently played tracks”, the m-chart automatically updates as you listen to music, so your friends and readers can easily discover music through your listening behavior. You can customize it to your favourite colors, sizes, formats, etc.
- social listening: it helps you know real-time what your friends are listening to. Because friends are the best source for music discovery, MyStrands tells you what are your contacts listening to, right now, and it also tells you who else is listening to the same song as you are listening now.
- world map – tells you who is listening to what songs, where.
Take a look at MusicStrands Labs to see additional features they are working on. In my opinion, there are a lot of interesting features to help users discover music; but the killer feature is the plugin for iTunes to help you build relationships in your own music library that you didn’t know existed.