Keeping with the theme of Mike’s Online Photo Editing Overview, I wanted to cover some of the entrants into social music. Music was probably the first type of rich media to really go “Web 2.0” and it’s become a pretty popular place for startups. As a result, there are some great Rich Internet Applications built around social music. Anyone who makes music a part of their daily lives has no shortage of options when it comes to finding new music and sharing with friends.
Finetune is a relatively new application written in Flash. It’s my favorite out of the bunch and I covered it on my ZDNet blog. What makes Finetune stand out is that in addition to the standard “artist radio”, it allows users to build playlists of specific songs. The minimum playlist is 45 songs and you can have up to three songs per artist. With custom playlists, you can make sure you’re only listening to songs you want. Finetune also gets points because in addition to the web version, it runs on the Wii and there is an Apollo-based desktop client.
Pandora is the granddaddy of the bunch and it’s one of the Web 2.0 applications that Mike can’t live without. It is built using OpenLaszlo and provides the cleanest experience out of all the applications on the list. Pandora uses the Music Genome Project to generate a stream of songs that you’ll like based on how you rate previous tracks. You create stations around artists, songs or albums and you can provide feedback (thumbs up or thumbs down) on the songs Pandora chooses. Tech Crunch’s coverage of Pandora is here.
last.fm is another Web 2.0 veteran and is more socially-slanted than the others. Tagging is a big part of the last.fm experience and you can tag any song that comes along in addition to being able to listen to “user tag radio” which is based on tracks that users have tagged with a specific genera. last.fm has a separate desktop application that “scrobbles” the songs you listen to and generates a music profile that you can share with friends. See Tech Crunch’s coverage of last.fm here.
MOG is all about a music community. It’s very blog-centric and revolves around user pages, or “Mogs”. You build your Mog around songs you’re listening too and artists you like. That builds something like a profile for you that users can browse to and comment on. It also uses this profile to suggest other people or music that you might like. Tech Crunch’s coverage of MOG is here.
radio.blog.club is another music service that builds playlists based on an artist or song you specify. I’ve heard the least about it, but the interface is good. When you browse to the site and type in an artist or song, it builds a playlist of 10 songs for you. In my experience the recommendation system for radio.blog.club wasn’t the best, but they do allow you to embed their player on your blog. This seems to be the least robust of the applications but still worth a mention.
MyStrands started off as MusicStrands and is a downloaded desktop application that works with your current music players to build recommendations based on what you’re listening to. In many ways it’s similar to last.fm’s “Scrobbling” but MyStrands ties in with your mobile device and seems to provide a more social recommendation system. By tying in with music on mobile phones, MyStrands is a bit ahead of the others and it helps tie all of your music collections together. Tech Crunch’s coverage of MyStrands is here.
iLike is an iTunes plug-in that makes your music library more social. It tracks what you’re listening too and recommends songs and people with similar tastes. It hooks in nicely with the iTunes interface and recommends music as you’re playing songs. I listen to some pretty obscure stuff and the recommendations were good. They also have a widget for MySpace that is formatted to sit nicely in the “Music” section of the profile. Tech Crunch’s coverage of iLike is here.
iJigg is a digg-esque music discovery service that I had a lot of fun playing with. Users vote on individual songs and the most popular rise to the top of the front page. You can’t do any “related artists” with iJigg, but you can browse by genre so that you can target your music discovery. The iJigg player can also be embedded on other sites so you can share it with friends. As this service gets more popular, I think it will be a great way for bands to get discovered. Tech Crunch’s coverage if iJigg is here.
Ryan Stewart is an expert in Rich Internet Applications. Ryan writes his personal blog here and also writes a RIA blog for ZDNet called The Universal Desktop.