Whether I’m working or relaxing, tuning in or tuning out, music is a constant in my daily routine. As is typical of a library-based listener, my soundtrack is a mix of old favourites and newer additions, but usually, nothing absolutely fresh flows through my speakers or earphones. Once in a while, though, I break this mould.
There are several routes which new music takes on its way to my eardrums. I listen to local commercial radio, for example. Radio stations will always provide a wider scope of tracks than my iTunes library, but the variety of broadcast playlists can be a little too random — which is why I’ve also long used Last.fm. As a taste-based recommendation engine, it is as close to human as an automated platform can currently be. However, this intelligence can actually hinder the finding of newness. Presenting me with clones of the music I already like isn’t going to improve the breadth of my listening experience.
A new app named MPme Radio wants to find a happy medium between these polar opposites, marrying the unexpectedness of radio with the predictability of an intelligent recommendation engine. Given that this app relies on the content provided by third-party broadcasters, though, is a middle-ground nirvana really possible?
Once upon a time music sharing wasn’t even possible. Can you believe it? If you wanted to listen to an album a friend recommended you, you had to go to the music store and buy a vinyl disc . Of course, you could’ve went to his place and listen to it there, but if you wanted to listen to it yourself you had to buy it. Later, magnetic cassettes made everything easier. They were also quite fun, jamming and all that. And who doesn’t remember the good old pen rewind method?
Nowadays if you hear a track on your friends media player (smartphone or not) you can give a quick YouTube search for the band for more of its tracks and if you really like them, hop into iTunes, Amazon or any other online music store and download it. But this is not about that. This is about how we share what we listen to to our friends. Sure you can send a YouTube link via e-mail, IM, or posting it on your Facebook Timeline or Twitter Feed, but that would be time consuming. What if there where a site where every track you listen to gets saved for all the people to see? Well, there is.
We’ve all heard about Last.fm‘s music scrobbling service. Whenever you listen to a track – whether on the site, on your computer’s MP3 player, or even on your phone – the details immediately get uploaded to your profile on Last.fm. We now see more and more audio/video companies that try and implement this; even Facebook is getting into it with its new “real-time serendipity”.
Is this a new trend, or will people complain about how social sites are getting more and more involved in our personal lives?