If you like music, then you probably want to be able to stream it online, listen to your friends’ favorites, and share your favorites with friends. I have been looking for social music sites like these for the past few years, and have come up with a list of 5 streaming music sites that have great social features. Enjoy the list and please leave us a comment below about your favorite social music sites.
To be clear, I’m looking at services that help me do two things:
- Find out what songs/bands/concerts my friends like.
- Listen to those songs in an easy, comfortable way (preferably a streaming music website)
Without further ado, here’s the list.
Meemix is a quick, easy way to find new music that you like. You sign in, and then tell Meemix about the artist you’d like to listen to, which determines the first artist that will be played in your ’station’. You then set the ‘pulse’ and ‘atmosphere’ settings of the music you want to hear, and that determines the type of songs that will pop up next in your ’station’ playlist. The songs are picked well, and each song has great sharing options to send the song by email, Facebook or Twitter. My playlist went from Thievery Corporation, to Moby, to Morcheeba, and it hit the perfect vibe that I was looking for.
Each user has a profile who has all their favorite songs listed, as well as thoughts and comments that they leave, akin to Facebook Status updates. What’s also interesting is that each user can make their stations public, and then users can follow each other’s stations, like Twitter. I found this to be a great way to find new mixes of music.
While listening through songs, there is a neat little option to “M3EP IT UP”, which allows you to leave a comment about the currently playing album, artist or song. Those comments are then available to others, and can be responded too. The site is attempting to create discussion around each song, and while there aren’t many posts yet, the idea could definitely be great if Meemix catches on. Give Meemix a try here.
Grooveshark is about finding your favorite song or album and playing it back to front. I’ve been using the service for a few months and can safely say that it rarely fails in helping me find the right song. It’s pretty straightforward: it’s a large database of songs that are searchable and sortable by title, artist or album name. The content is user-uploaded, so there is a wide, wide variety of music. The big question is whether they are going to run into legal problems at any point, but if not, it’s one of the best services around.
The social elements come in that you can just toss your favorite songs into playlists that are immediately shareable to anyone else on the service. This is pretty standard, but combined with the great breadth of music available at the site and the streaming nature of the site, I’m able to precisely define a set of songs that perfectly fit a mood, and any of my friends can tune in at any time. Friends must ‘follow’ me to easily access my playlist, but that’s as easy as it is on Twitter.
There are all the standard sharing options for each song, and I regularly post a song to my Facebook, knowing that friends can check it out with one click. There are customizable backgrounds and user pictures, so the site has a really friendly, dynamic feel. There is also a “popular” area, where you can see the most popular songs on the whole network, but nothing that lets me look at my friends’ aggregated favorites. They’ve also recently introduced a ‘radio’ feature that attempts to predict your favorite songs based on what you’re listening to, but I haven’t had as much luck with that as I did with Meemix or Pandora. Head over to Grooveshark and try it out.
Songkick is all about concerts. It starts innocuously, with a user listing their favorite bands and getting email alerts about upcoming concert dates in their town. However, that’s where things get social. Once a concert is complete, the user is prompted to submit photos, reviews, videos and setlists from the concert, and share it with friends. It’s a great way to connect with other people that attend concerts, and an even better way to meet die-hard fans, who go post-crazy the day after a great concert (Wolfmother anyone?).
The other social elements are the very cool profile page, which has a listing of your activity, your favorite concerts and bands, and whatever photos and videos you want. It really is a concert-based social network, and is a great way to connect with other fans. That said, the Facebook Connect option means it’s simple to also connect with your real-world friends and find out where they’re going and what they like. Go find a rockin’ concert at Songkick now.
Last.fm is one of the first social music services, released in 2002 and acquired by CBS in August 2007 for $280 million USD. It has over 30 million active users based in more than 200 countries, and probably ranks as the largest service on the list.
When using Last.fm, you browse their lists of artists and songs, and find detailed information about every single element of the music. There are pages dedicated to the artists, songs, concerts, videos and more, and each one has a plethora of social elements. You can comment on any page, you can view other users’ favorite, and leave little messages on their shoutboxes. The songs selection is huge, but somehow their relationship with the major labels means that you usually can only listen to a 30 second clip if you find the song by searching for it. If a song somehow comes up in your Last.fm radio station, you’ll get to listen to the whole thing, but to listen again, you’ll need to download the song at a price.
One of the coolest features of Last.fm is “scrobbling”. When you listen to a song, that song is recorded to your user profile, and helps form your overall music profile. You can download desktop clients that will detect what songs you are playing on your desktop music player, be it WinAmp, VLC, Windows Media Player or any others. This means that all your music tastes get saved back to Last.fm to determine your musical profile. One of the great aspects of the music profile is that when you look at another Last.fm user, you can see how compatible you are with that user based on your common music interests.
Last.fm was also released for XBox Live recently, which would mean that you could scrobble the songs you listen to while you play games, which is valuable. Ideally, you’d be able to also compare your music profiles with other XBox Live users. Get your Scrobble on at Last.fm now.
Pandora was one of the first streaming song sites available on the web, and continues to stay strong. The site is simpler, and has less social elements than some of the others on this list, but when it comes to breadth of music and simplicity, Pandora is king. You start the service by simply entering a band you like, and it forms a ’station’ from the band. A playlist is formed, and as songs play, you rank them as positive or negative, and your station is pruned to include music you like. In pure terms of predicting your tastes, Pandora is hard to beat, probably because it has a huge number of users and also a very unique formula that cross-references over 400 musical traits per song. As of March 2010, Pandora had 700,000 tracks in its library and 48 million users who listened for 11.6 hours per month on average.
The main social element of Pandora is listening to other users’ stations, and the service doesn’t stray from that formula. Other than messaging and looking at user profiles, there isn’t as much to do socially here, but then again, this is the point of the site. If I want a selection of music that a friend of mine is listening to, I can get to it in seconds on Pandora. There are also a lot of share options, so that I can share songs and radio stations with anybody using Twitter, Facebook or whatever service you like. Pandora likes to brand this as “gifting” a station, which definitely ties it nicely into the world of social applications, but is more of a rebranding of sharing than anything else. Pandora certainly isn’t the only team to jump on the social bandwagon, though! Enter into the world of Pandora here.