By Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm.
We all know the feeling — you sit down at your computer to do something, fire up Spotify, and… then what? Unless you’re the organized type who keeps a text file of all the bands you really need to check out, the way I used to do, you’ll find yourself staring down around 20 million songs — most of which you would not like.
This is precisely the situation that many Spotify apps are designed to solve (more ideas). Even the guy who invented mashing Pitchfork against Spotify uses them. And now, you have another option: Shuffler.fm, which unveiled a new Spotify app on Tuesday.
“Spotify is a great start,” said Shuffler.fm founder Tim Heineke. “With 20 million songs on the platform [and] around 150,000 new releases a year, we can help to cut through the clutter and tell their users what’s hot, next and fresh. It’s all relevant, what’s fresh now, bubbling under the radar, music you probably have not heard of yet, but will in the near future.”
It takes gumption to call the top on-demand subscription service in the world, reportedly valued at $3 billion, “a great start.” But Heineke is right in that Spotify needs apps (to make sense of all that music), just like app developers need Spotify (to give them a legal source of music for their apps). As fans of Shuffler.fm for years, we already know it will make a useful Spotify app, and indeed, we have not been disappointed in our testing so far.
The Shuffler.fm Spotify app lets you skim the latest findings of thousands of bloggers in a simple interface, where everything just plays — or, you can surf out to the original blog to read up on what you’re listening to. If your taste is a little more specific than “all the stuff everybody is writing about this week,” Shuffler.fm lets you fine-tune its results by genre, so you can catch up on the latest blogs about remixes, indie rock, and so on.
Shuffler.fm calls itself a “radiozine.” Others have called it “Flipboard for music.” Whatever you call it, it’s hard to see how this sort of curation — or any decent curative tool, for that matter — doesn’t add significantly not only to the Spotify experience, but one’s overall music experience.
In fact, some question whether this approach already solves the problem that Daisy, the Trent Reznor- and Ian Rogers-led, Dr. Dre- and Jimmy Iovine-backed music service set to launch in mid-2013 in part using Beats Electronics’ MOG acquisition, is trying to solve.
Spotify has “millions [of] pieces of music, but you’re not stumbling into anything,” Trent Reznor told the New Yorker, “What’s missing is a service that adds a layer of intelligent curation.”
As noted by music technologist and former MOG product manager Lucas Gonze on Twitter today, Spotify apps like Shuffler.fm offer a really nice layer of “intelligent curation” already.
“How do the Pitchfork and Shuffler.fm apps in Spotify fail to meet Jimmy Iovine’s vision for Daisy?” asked Gonze. “What does he mean by curation?”
We’ll find out. For now, Shuffler.fm offers a new map into those 20 million-or-so songs on Spotify that is suitable for this age of curation.