By Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm.
Artist radio stations, which base hours of programming around a single band, are one of the most popular ways to listen to music in Our Modern Era. You have many options for that, including one day, maybe, this.
But, according to MoodSnap founder and CEO David Blutenthal, you only have one solitary option for picking music by image, and it was released this morning: Moodsnap, “the world’s first image-based music streaming app.”
This app’s well-designed interface consists of a column of evocative images to swipe through — a couple staring away from each other; another couple definitely not staring away from each other; a jogger’s mid-stride foot; a beach party; and so on.
Tap the photo that strikes you, and you’re on your way. There’s no other way to select music in Moodsnap, although it does adapt to your taste as you favorite and skip songs. You don’t need buttons to control the music; instead, you think about where you want to go. Slide the song away to the left, and a new one starts. Slide the song down, and you’ll rise “above” it, triggering a song with a higher energy level. Slide the song down, and you’ll travel “down” to a track with a lower energy level.
If you find a song you like, you can collect it into Spotify by starring it. This sends it to a special Moodsnap playlist on all of your Spotify-enabled devices.
Two more things to know: First, Moodsnap requires both iOS and Spotify Premium, (just like all the other iOS Spotify apps we rounded up earlier), so unless you have an iDevice and pay Spotify ten bucks a month, you’re not using it.
Second, Moodsnap crowdsources these image-based stations, which is an interesting twist. Not only can you enjoy music that Moodsnap and/or its users associate with an image, but you can add your own songs (see us add one below).
During testing, we found that this image-based approach occasionally can make music resonate in a different way, because you might visualize the image you tapped as you listen. And — fair enough – we haven’t seen another app do this before.
Some users might be surprised to find that they can’t actually submit their own images — just music to go with the images that are already there. This is probably a good thing, because it keeps the community centered on the images that are already there, and ensures that they make sense as things to base a playlist around.
Another thing that makes Moodsnap make sense: Anyone who can use it already has Spotify, as mentioned, so they already have at least one “normal” way to find music, not to mention all the other apps out there. This app does one thing, it does it well, and it’s something that nobody else does yet, and that is something.
Granted, it felt a little weird to have music start playing after merely choosing an image, as evocative as they are, rather than an artist or even genre. We occasionally heard horrible music. But this is the whole point of this app, and we it did play us some stuff we enjoyed, and the more you use it, the better it should get (using technology from The Echo Nest, publisher of Evolver.fm).
The question: Will you keep using it long enough for it to form a picture of your taste? For some users, especially the ones who are visually-oriented and not too interested in actively choosing music, it will.