By Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm.
Filter Squad revamped its popular Discovr app (free, iOS) with a beefy upgrade that’s worth a try, if you’re looking for a new way to, yes, “discover” music in a variety of neat ways. It’s also a socially-connected music player that serves up whatever you want from Rdio, Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, and Deezer (if you’re in a country where they have that).
Discovr hits the ground running, hitting you with a main feed that already has stuff in it. You’ll already be following all of the artists in your iPhone’s Music library, even before you start manually Following friends and artists. Following an artist includes posts from other people about that artist, as well as gig alerts, while following a person lets you see what they share with the Discovr community.
I don’t keep a ton of music on my iPhone, so it recommended Metallica (oops, I actually do have Death Magnetic somehow), then Kanye (warmer — I really like his latest one) and The Men (victory! My friend actually told me last night that they had a new song, but I’d forgotten to track it down — score another one for Discovr).
Of course, once you start following more artists, and finding more friends to follow, this feed will improve significantly — it’s actually kind of impressive that it did as well as it did, given how little music I have stored on my new iPhone.
Intriguingly, the well-designed Discovr promises to let you “Share it all. With anyone. We’ll find a way for them to play it.”
Indeed, the app can play the stuff people share in their feeds in Deezer, iTunes, Rdio, SoundCloud, Spotify, or Rdio (we had trouble getting Discovr to connect to Rdio, due to an issue with its SDK that’s being resolved [updated]). And your play queue can include stuff from your local iPhone and all of these sources, as mentioned, which is what makes Discovr a candidate for use as your main music player. It can even scrobble what you play to Last.fm, if you use that.
To start using Discovr, you create an account with email or Facebook. It would be nice to be able to import my Facebook and Twitter friends, picking and choosing the ones who have good taste in music (you know who you are). Instead, though, the only way to add people at this point, other than searching for their names on Discovr, is to send them an email invite from within the app.
Eventually, Discovr will solve this problem by introducing me to users who are similar to me. I think the app was trying to find some friends for me, but no dice. So far, in these early days, it considers me to be a unique snowflake — in part because I have only played a handful of songs so far, and in part because Discovr only launched yesterday, so there really might not be too any other truly similar listeners to me yet.
You can always search all the music on all of your connected services and your local library from a single search box, so if you know what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find it. And at any time, the option to share a song or album is never more than a couple of taps away.
In terms of collecting music, after discovering it by searching, getting alerted to a relevant new release on iTunes, Rdio, or Spotify in your main feed, seeing it shared in your feed, and so on, Discovr collects all of your Likes from all of those places in a dedicated area, so you can always go back and work your way through the stuff you liked at any time.
After spending an afternoon with Discovr, I’m promoting it onto our left-most Home screen on my iPhone, to see if I really feel like using it as my default music player.
There’s a lot going on in this app, although it’s fairly simple to use; here’s Filter Squad’s official list of new features in this major reboot:
Follow your favorite artists and we’ll send you all of their music.
(songs, videos, photos, gigs, and more)
Play full length songs via Spotify, Rdio, Deezer, Soundcloud, and YouTube.
(full streaming songs right inside Discovr)
Discover new artists similar to your favorite bands.
(we’ll suggest new artists for you)
Follow trusted people to hear the music they love.
(we’ll bring you the music that they share)
Get alerts about new releases on iTunes, Spotify, and Rdio.
(never miss a new album again)
Watch your favorite music videos from YouTube.
(all the videos from the artists you like)
Share your favorite music, videos, artists, and music maps.
(share everything you find with your friends)