It is definitely a good time to be a music fan with the surge of innovative music apps released this year. Four years ago we were getting serious about our Last.FM profiles and our Pandora playlists, but now things are getting even more social. Gone are the days of listening to music solo or even writing music alone. Today the playlists you curate can now have a live following. And you can finally listen to your favorite tracks -- that were once stuck on your home computer -- from anywhere that has a wifi connection. Digital music has never been more accessible and the experience as much fun as it is right now.
Here are four digital products that I’ve been playing with (web and mobile) that are definitely changing the digital music game.
Spotify - Your Music Collection + Spotify Catalogue = Tunes 'til Infinity!
Finally making it’s debut in the U.S. last Thursday after having much success in Europe, Spotify is the holy moly grail of digital music. Well, for now at least. Basically you can listen to your entire music collection wherever, whenever, and with whoever. All your digital music is made available on Spotify and you can access it wherever you’re camped out (not machine specific) or even on-the-go via the mobile app. And if you’re away from a wireless connection, it’s offline feature keeps the tunes coming.
Even more awesome, is gaining access to Spotify’s catalogue of millions of songs (they tout 15 million). Seriously. All these tracks are there for your listening and curating pleasure.
I’m finding it pretty easy to use although I’m still getting used to the playlists -- which is the secret social sauce of the app. You can create and share your own playlists (Facebook, Twitter and email), as well as subscribe to your friend’s playlists. And you can also curate playlists together with others.
Spotify comes out in the U.S. after the launch of Amazon and Google’s digital music products and just before the next anticipated music shake up from Apple’s iCloud this September.
I think the membership pricing is pretty reasonable: Free, Unlimited for $4.99 and Premium for $9.99. I think it’s worth the premium subscription which hooks you up with full streaming of their library and access to all your own songs on mobile.
Anyhow, Spotify is the future. You gotta try it.
Turntable.fm - You DJ, now I DJ.
I’ve been sneaking in and out of various indie rock and mash-up rooms on Turntable.fm and I don’t think I’ve had so much fun virtually on the web. The smart folks at Turntable.fm have created a virtual club or lounge for us to listen to live tunes spun by you and me. There are a number of genre rooms to choose from. You can hang out and listen, vote a DJ’s track up or down, chat with other listeners, and even throw on a few tunes up yourself before you leave for the next room. Turntable.fm rewards DJ's positive feedback with points which you can use to change up your avatar.
Another cool thing is being able to create your own room -- public or private. So you could have your own little private Turntable party with select guests. How fun would that be to have a Rockerista room?!
All in all, Turntable.fm is definitely on to something here. They’re bringing that feeling of togetherness you get at a live show or lounge virtually to us on the web. That’s pretty cool.
SoundTracking - It’s like Instagram but with music.
I always thought it’d be awesome if we could score the soundtrack of our own lives. Like, why couldn’t life’s dramatic moments be emphasized with the first 30 seconds of Stairway to Heaven? SoundTracking is a free mobile app that made it’s debut back in March this year and it adds a music accent to your everyday happenings. I love it. I usually describe it to people as a blend of Instagram and Twitter, but with music. Basically, you’re posting whatever song you want for the moment, adding your location and a photo. Your buddies can take a listen to the song snippet, see where you are on the grid and heart your photo. Just like the other microblogging apps, it’s fun to see how creative people get with their curation. It seriously makes regular status messaging seem vanilla.
SoundCloud - Eye candy and ear candy.
SoundCloud started back in 2007 in Sweden but has been picking up traction over the past couple years like crazy. It is an elegant open platform for audio sharing and collaboration giving you the ability to upload your own tracks, get community feedback and also distribute tracks. I have to admit that my use has been limited to sharing tracks on my blog and commenting so far. But I do love the clean easy breezy experience of it and the user interface is unmatched in the realm of audio players. The cool SoundCloud waveform allows you to visualize the audio, and the timed comments makes it so people can share feedback at a certain time within the track.
They do have a mobile app for those who want to record and upload on-the-go. And they’ve made it easy for you to flip it out to audiophiles in your Tumblr community.
SoundCloud has five levels of membership from Free which includes 120 minutes of upload time and secret sharing, all the way up to Pro which give you unlimited access, storage and groups.
This list obviously doesn't cover all the cool digital products out there, but it's definitely inclusive of some of the game changers. Have fun trying them out -- they're definitely worth some geek time!
You may also be interested in Five Ways to Find Live Music.
July 19, 2011
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