Pandora, Last.fm, imeem, iLike, MySpace Music, and Mufin are all social media music players that are in the running for playing your tunes. While the iPod and iTunes run the show when it comes to playing music these social media music players have a few things that not even Microsoft can provide. Variety and choices.
Have a favorite band or song? Plug it into one of these tools and you’ll get similar music by similar artists. It’s a great way to explore new artists and expand your music tastes. Social media music players are the future by putting the user in control.
If you’ve been following this blog recently you’ll notice that I’ve reviewed only one tool at a time. I decided in the best interest of the reader that by grouping these like minded tools together it would help you hash out which social media tool you should try out for yourself.
The difficulty with anything that involves the music industry is copyright and licensing laws. If you recall the Napster case you realize what a sticky situation it is when it comes to music licensing. This must be kept in mind when evaluating these social media music players. While it may not be specifically documented several have limited playlists and song availability.
Imeem is setup more for the musician than the listener. With the ability to post your own content and track it you can tell exactly how well your songs are doing. Imeem implores a ton of user to user interaction. They suggest making playlists of your favorite artists and songs and sharing it with other people. They suggest you check out other users playlists to learn about new songs and artists. Streaming music is not what this tool is made for; sharing your favorite songs and artists with others is.
Myspace Music is the place bands go to set up promotion and get the word out about their songs and gigs. If you’re looking to listen to music hear you’re probably out of luck. Bands can only place a specific number of songs on their page and normally it’s their newest music. Myspace users have the ability to create playlists and post them on their profile from the music band’s list on their page.
Mufin is the baby of the group who’s name stands for music finder. Mufin is a tool positioned for the music buyer. Virtually any song or artist you type in will pop up. Be warned you can only preview 30 second snippets of a song and the preview button doesn’t always work. A great feature Mufin has is the suggestion tool that suggests similar artists and songs which is what separates this from being iTunes. Again it is considered a social media tool because it allows you to use widgets to place your playlists or songs on a website or blog.
Last.fm is one of my favorite social media music players. They cover all their bases including the listener and musician. If you are the musician you can list your music and receive the royalties for the plays. For the listener you have everything you could want. Here is an example using one of my favorite band’s The Bad Plus. You can play the entire track, buy the track, watch a video, see related tracks, add the track to your own personal library, and of course share the song with your friends. It is by far one of the most complete systems I have seen and I highly recommend you check it out and try it if you have not already.
Last, but certainly not least, is Pandora. The proverbial favorite by most because of its sleek, intuitive, and easy to use interface system. Pandora is a music player that puts you the listener in control of what tracks you want to listen to. Users create stations based around a specific song or artist and then similar songs are played based on the choices you make. The downside to Pandora is the fact that you cannot type in a specific song and have it play and you also can’t rewind songs. As mentioned previously in the post it is because of the licensing. Regardless Pandora puts you in control of your tastes. Type in an artist and they tell you the style and reasoning for playing the song. Don’t like the track they just played? Give it the ‘ole thumbs down and you will never have to hear it on that station again. Like the song and you’ll hear it more frequently along with similar sounding songs. Pandora also has the ability to work with and on your iPhone making it extremely versatile.
My two favorite sources are Pandora and Last.fm. Unsure which one to choose? Take a look at this article written pitting last.fm vs. pandora.
As a listener I’d be very interested to get your feedback on which service you like.
Also as a band member which services you use not only to listen, but promote your work.
Enjoy and happy listening!