Guest post by Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm.
Spotify has approved its first third-party app for the fascinating intersection of music and location: Tunaspot, which turns the sharing of location-based playlists into a virtual geo-caching game, wherein the dominant metaphor is that chicken of the sea, the mighty tuna fish.
The Tunaspot app, developed in the music app hotspot Malmö, in the larger music app hotspot of Sweden, officially launched in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark on Wednesday. However, it is currently available to Spotify users anywhere the service is used.
We’ll keep this post simple, just like Tunaspot itself, which we saw in its early stages, and which looks to have arrived in well-honed form.
Click the Map button, and you’ll be able to scroll through the whole world looking for Tunaspot playlists that users have affixed to locations. To jump to your own location, just click the crosshairs — although as of today, unless you’re in Scandanavia, you’re not likely to see much:
Tunaspot uses Foursquare for locational data, so some playlists can get attached to exact physical venues. Others are merely tagged to spots on the map. You can play any of these playlists, in full, for free (with ads) or with a Spotify subscription, for no ads and higher sound quality. Either way, no purchase is necessary to use Tunaspot.
The other half of the equation is adding your own playlists to the Map. To do that, simply search for a location, then drag any of your Spotify playlists onto that part of the map. Once again, Foursquare integration (exclusive interview) means you’ll get a nice little icon that represents the place you’ve chosen, if it’s a Foursquare location. Interestingly, you can attach a playlist to any location you want, even if you’ve never been there before. (Finally, something new to do with that Architecture in Helsinki playlist you’ve been sitting on all this time.)
And that’s it. You can find Tunaspots anywhere in the world, or create your own for others to find — and if you get confused, a simple tutorial can show you the ropes. Everything that each user finds or leaves goes into a “bucket,” for easy reference later, so you can always enjoy the Tunaspots you’ve found or left. In other words, it’s “sustainable” tuna.
So far, the official Spotify apps (which run inside the main Spotify client, unlike these) are only for the desktop. That could change soon. Evolver.fm has learned (and somewhat confirmed) that Spotify apps will likely soon also run within Spotify’s mobile apps as well, which would make Tunaspot more effective, in that you’d be able to drop a playlist to your current location more easily. You’d also be able to get pinged when you walk near to someone else’s playlist.
Still, Tunaspot is a great deal of fun even on the desktop. After all, plenty of people get a kick out of Google Earth and use all sorts of mapping services on their desktops and laptops — and those don’t even have music.