Entries in Mashup (5)
Twones, an Amsterdam-based startup, launched a beta of their new music activity aggregator/social network. The idea behind Twones is a solid one - there are so many music services out there and simply no way to get your friends to use the same one. This makes sharing music and seeing what your friends are listening to pretty difficult. In addition to tracking what you listen to on your media player (iTunes, Winamp, etc), Twones also allows you to track music you listen to on dozens of different music sites including Last.fm, iLike, YouTube, Finetune, MySpace, imeem, MOG, Seeqpod, Deezer, Hype Machine and many more. Your listening activity is then aggregated and presented on your Twones profile page. Friends can see what you are listening to and playback songs on their original source page or other services. When you find songs you like, you can bookmark them for later.
Lifestreaming services like Strands and Friendfeed require you to have accounts with specific services so they can access the RSS feeds of your listening activity. Twones, uses a Firefox plugin that basically tracks whatever you listen to on the web regardless of whether you have an account with a specific web service. This has the advantage of aggregating a much wider range of music activity. On the flipside, there is no way to globally block tracking on specific services aside from manually clicking the icon in the browser window to disable the tracker.
Like other social networks, you can find people to “follow”. When viewing the Music Activity tab, you can see your own activity, your friend’s activity and everyone’s activity. Its a good way to see what other people are listening to and discover new music.
Twones also lets you search for artists and songs. Search results and artist pages take a Foxytunes approach and are loaded with information including bios (Wikipedia), similar artists (Last.fm), concerts (Eventful), albums (Amazon), videos (YouTube), photos (Flickr), and recent chatter (Twitter).
There are some issues with the service. Your dashboard has a recommendations tab but that does not seem to be working yet or provide any explanation of what it is. The charts seems to be inoperable at this time as well. The UI attempts to be clean and concise but for some reason comes across as more clunky and cluttered. More attention to typography and better use of ajax for progressive disclosure of information would be a great help.
The Twones beta version is a promising start and clearly addresses a need with today’s multiple source model of digital music consumption.
Why bother sending the standard ecard when you can say it with a song? Postcard.fm is an elegant, idiot-proof service from the same people who created the fantasy label site The Next Big Sound. The service lets you easily combine a photo, a song and a message for an awesome e-greeting. Photos can be directly uploaded from your computer or you can type in an image’s URL. You can also upload your own music file or search for a song using SeeqPod’s library of mp3 songs. Now i can finally mashup those wonderfully snarky greetings from someecards with equally cheeky music.
Pict.fm is a utility that allows you to create an animated profile avatar based on your favorite or recently listened to artists charts in Last.fm. You basically type in your last.fm username and select your avatar size. Pict.fm then provides you with a list of artists to select from. If more than one photo exists for an artist, you can select which one you wish to display. When you are done, Pict.fm provides you with the necessary URL and HTML code to embed in your profile.
The River of Music
The sites home page lists posts from all of the tracked blogs essentially providing a “river of music”. In addition to a brief snippet of the blog post, each entry also contains mp3 which can be played directly within the page. The sidebar also contains a search box and links to weekly top artists, recommended blogs, top blogs and recently updated blogs.
When you click on any artist name, you are taken to an artist results page which shows all blog posts that contain a reference to the selected artist. These pages also display artist bios (via Wikipedia), a link to their official site, related genres, music videos (via YouTube), discography (via Amazon), similar artists, and links to all blogs that discuss the artist. Like most sites that use web services from other sites, the information is often incomplete or just plain wrong (for instance, Of Montreal’s bio uses an entry for Bank of Montreal)
One of the nicest features is the mixtape player which takes all mp3 from the artist across all blogs and puts them into a single streaming playlist. There is even a link to the original blog post that contains the mp3.
Another cool feature is the artist widget which lets you embed all blog posts associated with an artist directly into your web site, social network profile or blog.
Clicking an individual blog link takes you to a page that contains all entries from that blog. In addition to the blog description and official link, the page provides stats such as number of entries, number of mp3s and number of videos. There is also a list of all artists that are mentioned in the blog’s posts though unfortunately they are not sorted alphabetically which makes it difficult to scan, especially with blogs that cover lots of artists.
While the service, currently in alpha, does not have the same level of features as the new Hype Machine, it is still an impressive effort. However, when it comes to blog aggregators, I think the new Hype Machine provides a much better overall experience - especially with their tracking features which make it much more useful tool than Boogie4.us.
Ok, a little off topic but this is pretty fun. Whether you loved or hated the Sopranos season ending, now you can at least change the music from “Don’t Stop Believin’” to something you would want. Stereogum created a cool tool that lets you add your own mp3 file and sync it to the video. Tip: use your media player to find songs that are about 3:42 long.