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Music Social Networks On the Rise for Smart Phones

Mobile Music is Going Social


Myxer Social Radio app on iPhone

Myxer Social Radio app on iPhone

by Les Walker
Music social networks are sprouting like crazy, making music more social through the launch of lots of social radio apps for smart phones.

A ton of music social networks have launched or are in the works, many with obscure Internet-style names, such as Rdio, Jelli, Beatrobo, Jango, MusicBunk, to name just a few.

In addition to mobile music startups, established Internet music services like Pandora and Spotify have steadily been adding social networking features and mobile apps, too, making it potentially harder for newcomers to gain traction in the fast developing area of mobile music apps.

Many of these mobile music services leverage people's connections on Facebook. And Facebook itself even launched an official "Facebook Music" program in the fall of 2011 with a bunch of music service partners.

Through Facebook Music, songs you listen to using one of Facebook's music partners get touted in your Facebook Timeline or the news feeds and tickers of your friends. Users activate this music-sharing news stream through the settings menus of the partner apps, not through their Facebook settings. Music streaming service Spotify was one of the first big music sharing services to launch under the Facebook Music umbrella.

Lots of startups are jumping in, too. A group of coders associated with the well known hacktivist group Anonymous, for example, launched a fledgling social music aggregation service called AnonTune, It searches and finds songs hosted around the Web on sites like SoundCloud and YouTube. Wired News profiled the beta version of AnonTune.

Here are a few of notable mobile music services worth checking out:

  • Turntable.fm offers a mobile app for both iPhones and Android devices that turns streaming music into a group listening affair on mobile phones. Turnbable's slick interface shows users as avatars as they become virtual DJs competing for audience likes and dislikes.
  • Myxer Social Radio launched a social network in November 2011, allowing users to create group "listening rooms" to share music with friends. Myxer also invites users to create "stories" about songs by recording their thoughts and sharing them. Myxer's social radio app is available on the Web or through apps for Android and iPhones.
  • Spreaker Radio is a social listening service for Android and iOS devices. It lets you broadcast live and provides a large library of sounds and a mixing dashboard to spice up your audio broadcasts.
  • Social Radio App takes an entirely different twist on social listening than most other new apps. It uses computerized text-to-speech technology to read your personalized Twitter timeline out loud, while playing music in the background. The idea is to make your music experience more social by letting you hear what's going on in your social networks while you do other things such as riding a bike or taking a jog. Like I said, a real twist!
  • WahWah.fm is a social network music app available for the iPhone. Founded in 2010 and launched in 2011, it lets people create playlists and share them with friends using streaming audio. It social features include a user profile page, a custom musical Timeline showing songs in playlist order with comments and questions that other users ask or post. An Android version was in the works in May 2012.
  • Jelli is vaguely similar to WahWah radio in that it offers traditional social networking features around personalized music playlists. But what makes it different is the way it tries to piggyback on traditional radio by making it more interactive. Its technology is designed to let radio stations interact with their listeners by inviting them to collaboratively create listening experiences by requesting songs via the Jelli app, which is available as a mobile app for users and a different app for radio stations. the New York Times reported that Jelli raised $7 million from investors in May 2012.
  • Streema is another social networking music service designed to make listening to traditional radio a more social experience. The app lets people listen to radio broadcasts online and see what radio stations their friends like, too.
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