Since becoming available in the United States last July, Spotify has changed the way American fans experience and enjoy their music. You mean it’s free and I can share with my friends? A totally social experience, now with even more ways to exchange and discover music, thanks to a ever-growing collection of apps. Spotify users can browse available (and free) apps via the service’s App Finder, but we’ve gone through the trouble of giving a brief rundown of which ones are worth your precious time. There are plenty of alternative music-streaming sites out there, but for those looking to increase the credibility of their libraries with suggestions from editors at Rolling Stone, Billboard and Pitchfork, or simply want to amplify their social lives with the perfect soundtrack, read on for our picks.
can be scary. With new music sites constantly arriving and boasting benefits of convenience and freedom, the thought of abandoning a place where you’ve logged hours of listening time and discovered thousands of new songs may give you the shakes. Luckily, Last.fm allows users to sync existing accounts with Spotify, making your “scrobbles” and recommendations available all in one place. Those unfamiliar with Last.fm: playing a song takes you to a brief bio and stats page where you see the number of listeners, and thus its popularity, and are then allotted a “similar tracks playlist” with recommendations based on your selection.
We Are Hunted: The best way to discover new music, based on your own aural predilections. Browse categories like “Emerging Chart” or “Mainstream Chart,” or peruse by musical genre. Whatever you’re decision, the We Are Hunted app will automatically return with at least 10 similar songs, by artists you may not have previously known. Each list or selection can turn into a playlist, with the option for creating entire playlist similar to an individual artist. It’s library appears to be strong–searching for Jay-Z found similar offerings from Kanye West to Drake and Lil Wayne–but at times its results will surprise you. Who knew Beyoncé, Local Natives and Belle & Sebastian had so much in common?
FOR THE MIXTAPE PURIST
ShareMyPlaylists: Remember the days when you spent hours personalizing a mixtape or CD, and even more time decorating its cover? Just because that once cherished pastime is on its way out, doesn’t mean the art of gifting your friends with songs you’ll know they love should cease to exist as well. ShareMyPlaylists strives to maintain the culture of handpicking a selection of songs across a range of artists and genres, and then sharing them with your friends. Probably the most convenient way to search and discover new mixes, the app allows users to publish their own playlists, as well as browse those that are featured and most popular among Spotify users–or as they should be called: like-minded nostalgia lovers. “Long live the mixtape,” indeed.
TuneWiki: If you’ve ever felt ashamed at your lack of lyrical knowledge regarding one of your favorite songs–or, experienced secondhand embarrassment that occurs when a friend publicly butchers a Top 40 hit. TuneWiki gives you the lyrics to any song you play, complete with a bouncing ball-style pacing to keep you on track. Songs can also be found based on lyrics, if you happen to be having a “fire” or “rain” type day. The benefits don’t stop there! There’s a mobile app making your karaoke night all the more possible outside of the private room, and a tracking system that gives insight to where in the world your song is playing, and know if you’re the only person listening to INXS before noon, or if putting together a ‘N Sync cover band will be possible come Friday night.
Songkick Concerts: Given life’s busy schedule, it can be hard to stay on top of upcoming live shows unless you set Google Alerts for all 500 artists in your library. This app pulls artists you already enjoy and informs you about upcoming live performances. There are options to create a personalized concert calendar based on your library, receive email alerts for upcoming tour dates, or scan your library to track artists performing in the area. One downside (to some) might be the requiredFacebook registration–unless you already have a Songkick account–but it’s worth it if you want someone else to do all the work in tracking down your favorite artists. If only if they could purchase the tickets for you as well.
Not everything has to be serious. Sometimes you are in the mood for a random playlist based the pre-determined feelings of an electronic device–who doesn’t love an angry break-up playlist? Moodagent uses its decisive powers of perception to gauge your temperament–sensual, tender, happy, angry–based on old listening habits or existing playlists. They didn’t lie about Al Green and Otis Redding putting people in the mood–is there any better way to prepare for Valentine’s Day?