Songbird's new Songbird.me music discovery service takes a streamlined approach to identifying the music you and your friends like and to help you discover related content. By leveraging Facebook's Social Graph and the various forms of social media content made available by artists, Songbird has created a simple yet effective platform for music discovery.
Songbird has an extended history as a company providing a music player that went far beyond simple playback. Fast Company named them one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Music last year for their "open-source music listening/organizing platform that can be customized--think new colors, layouts, skins, etc.--into something way more personal than iTunes."
Songbird's What's New Artist Feed
I recently discussed the current direction of the company with Eric Wittman, Songbird's Senior VP of Product. He emphasized the company's research into customer dissatisfaction with current forms of music discovery such as playlists and top 40 charts. Songbird's solution is to access both Facebook and in some cases your music library to create a flow of recommended content based on artists you've liked.
Additional discovery processes include the ability to browse artists liked by your friends. The android app can access one's mobile music library while additional options are being developed for identifying music interests based on one's library, likes and listening choices.
While Songbird does move away from music discovery based on playlists and song charts, an increasing array of services are finding ways to leverage social graphs and user information provided via such services as Facebook and Twitter. In the long run these techniques are being explored from multiple angles and the most effective approaches will be copycatted across services.
At that point differentiators such as UX become increasingly important and that's where Songbird's past as a "listening/organizing platform" serves them well. Songbird.me, the web app, has a nice look, appropriating the irregular grid now associated with Pinterest. While it may be disappointing for those who prefer lots of customization options, the focused offerings make Songbird easily accessible.
With Songbird's new direction, the focus on discovery and connection with friends is evident as is an absence of list building and music rating.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith blogs about business at Flux Research: Business Changes and about dance at All World Dance: News. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.