Because the music that they constantly play says nothing to me about my life
June 23, 2007 5:49 AM   Subscribe

12 of the Best Music Social Networks Internet radio may be facing uncertain times, but many musical social networks continue to thrive. This article surveys Flotones, Mercora Radio 2.0, Mog, the popular Last fm, iLike, JamNow, Haystack, five others as well as some additional sites, like Kompoz, mentioned in the comments.
posted by psmealey (17 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
The web has too many music resources.

Pandora is a simple, yet surprisingly useful streaming-music-suggester type thing.
posted by parallax7d at 8:16 AM on June 23, 2007

I like Nexhit!
posted by ba at 8:28 AM on June 23, 2007

Pandora, unfortunately, is no longer an option for most of us living outside the U.S.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 10:39 AM on June 23, 2007

Hype Machine and
posted by empath at 10:40 AM on June 23, 2007

Felicity Rilke - Pandora will not work unless you can tell it that you live in the USA and provide a zip code. This is not quite the same as saying it will not work outside the USA>
posted by rongorongo at 10:58 AM on June 23, 2007

Also, Pandora tends to suck eggs. I don't know why people like it. "I see you like Radiohead — might I introduce you to this band Coldplay?" No, and fuck you.
posted by blasdelf at 11:29 AM on June 23, 2007 [2 favorites]

I have never gotten the Pandora love. It is good at suggesting songs that sound like another song, but that is not the same as another song I would like. Pandora has no understanding of lyrical content, full stop, and so getting songs with the same topic or emotional tone isn't especially easy.

This isn't a criticism of Pandora per se, it's definitely a criticism of those who say it's the be-all and end-all and good grief won't people stop making websites.
posted by dhartung at 11:42 AM on June 23, 2007

I have the opposite impression -- Pandora has done, for me, a surprisingly good job of playing songs in the genres I listen to most (indie rock and pop), by bands I've never heard of, which are good.

The collaboration sites (JamNow and Kompoz) sound really neat -- has anyone here used them?
posted by escabeche at 12:32 PM on June 23, 2007

I've yet to see a "like this? - try this" system that works well. Anyway, don't real music fans enjoy doing their own reasearch to find new music?
posted by davebush at 12:47 PM on June 23, 2007

Anyway, don't real music fans enjoy doing their own reasearch to find new music?

Yeah, they do, but it can be hard to connect to bands you might like, but would never know about otherwise. Case in point, there is band from SF called the Peels, which is definitely in my power pop wheelhouse. I love 'em. But the only reason I know about them is because I worked with a company that had an agency relationship with a Silicon Valley based firm. The contact I had at the agency rented his apartment out to the lead guitarist in the band. We got to talking about music one day, and a few weeks later he sent me the CD, and lo, I was hooked.

At any rate it might be damn near impossible to map my tastes to some tiny band in a city 2800 miles away using "Web2.0" implementations.

Maybe Lester Bangs was right. The music you love, one way or another ends up finding you. If you don't find it, wasn't meant to be.
posted by psmealey at 1:39 PM on June 23, 2007

People use services like for two mutually exclusive goals.

1. Good taste in music is a primary source of distinction, so people want to broadcast it when they have it.
2. People want to determine what good taste is, which services like make as accessible as buying an outfit from Hot Topic.

Unfortunately, taste is a positional good. People so inclined have to delve ever deeper into obscurity to find yet untapped veins to maintain their position, which requires reporting their finds to the world at large, which assumes those finds and dilutes the distinction they provided, necessitating further explorations. This is a cycle that all positional goods follow, but one that the instant feedback of the Internet has accelerated to an untenable pace. Like a memetic Youtube video, our strenuous efforts have placed us in an impossible situation.
posted by Ictus at 3:29 PM on June 23, 2007 [2 favorites]

This is a cycle that all positional goods follow, but one that the instant feedback of the Internet has accelerated to an untenable pace.

That may be true, but even so, it rewards the newer explorers. Kids today may like a certain (derivative) band topping the pop charts today -- seeking out more of the same, they might pick up on a conversation from older kids (or adults) about an earlier or more obscure group that they might enjoy just as much, if not more so.

How else could (for examples) The Beatles or Pink Floyd remain hot sellers today if newer generations hadn't picked up on all the hype? The Internet may be eatting itself, but even bland food to one person can seem appetizing to another's less discriminating palette.

I agree that artificial intelligence of sites like Pandora is still a little dim on how bands can or should appeal to each other's listener base, but this too is getting more enhanced as the technology improves. Most sites are starting to figure out that "most popular" or "biggest sellers" does not necessary mean everyone agrees on it.
posted by Down10 at 4:04 PM on June 23, 2007

Ictus writes "This is a cycle that all positional goods follow, but one that the instant feedback of the Internet has accelerated to an untenable pace. "

Yep, being cool is unsustainable. Being a smug nerd, on the other hand, you can do that forever.
posted by mullingitover at 4:07 PM on June 23, 2007

Down10: The common ancestry that the morlocks laboring away in the underground scene share with the above-ground and mainstream is basically unrecognizable. I don't know what the eloi use for, but I bet it's harmless.

mullingitover: The difference is no one aspires to smug nerddom. Unluckily, your encyclopedia of music knowledge looks a lot like an AD&D rulebook once the gilt wears off.
posted by Ictus at 7:06 PM on June 23, 2007

The web has too many music resources.

What a curious comment. I can understand, say, too much carbon monoxide in the world, or too much social injustice, or too many advertisements, but too many music resources?

Thanks for the post, psmealey. I think I'll check some of these out!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:28 AM on June 24, 2007

I tried some of these a while back. iLike is just a that's currently only supporting iTunes, and has only a few things doesn't - but none of them are that worthwhile.

MOG is just crap, seemingly focused on making it easy to blog about music, but with only minimal supporting tools. Oh, and it looks ugly.

I've also been playing with MusicStrands, which is again, a clone, but with the restriction that it only tracks what you play that's already in their database - thus obscure stuff that they don't have gets ignored. It feels very much like any moment it had came and went, and now it's just on life-support until the eventual death.

Overall, I was completely unimpressed.

Oh, and can be good for discovering new music - the site is responsible for completely altering my music tastes.
posted by evilangela at 1:28 PM on June 24, 2007

And for a classy streaming presentation of the best of 20th-century American art music, tune in to Counterstream, a presentation of the American Music Center.
posted by Twang at 6:46 PM on June 24, 2007

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