If you’re anything like me, you have a ton of music blog posts bookmarked featuring songs that you want to check out later — tunes you will likely never check out, as clicking from blog post to blog post is not exactly the best music-listening method. Enter Shuffler.fm, a new app for iOS that makes it easy to surf music blogs on your mobile whilst simultaneously listening to a constant stream of tunes — no heavy clicking around required.
Shuffler.fm is a music discovery service with about two years of history under its proverbial belt. It launched during the summer of 2010 as a kind of Pandora for music blogs, a website that allowed you to choose a genre, click on blog post featuring a tune in that genre and listen to the jam while you read said post. When the song was over, the site took you to another blog post (on another blog) featuring another song in that genre.
Over the last few years, Shuffler.fm has improved on its product, allowing users to “listen” to a particular blog all the way through — a kind of blog playlist, if you will. The updated version also allowed for more precision when it came to searching for specific artists, etc. Then, back in November of 2011, Shuffler.fm went mobile, launching an iPad app that pretty much echoed the first iteration of the site. It was cool, but it didn’t quite have the right combination of discovery and curation that we wanted when it came to a music service.
Well, all that changed this week, when Shuffler.fm released its most cohesive, useful offering yet for listening to tunes and reading music blogs: a free app for iOS, including iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Not only does the app make it easy to find new tunes and new info sources, it also helps you organize your favorite artists and blogs for future listening/enjoyment.
Basically, there are two ways to discover music via the app — 1). By surfing through trending music, genres or blogs and bookmarking your favorite tunes/blogs/etc, 2). Via your “Magazine” and “Profile,” which is basically a repository/RSS feed of tunes you’ve liked and blogs and bands you’ve bookmarked.
When you first sign in to the app — either through email or Facebook — your “Magazine” and “Profile” will be blank, so you’ll need to start digging through trending tunes, genres and blogs to fill those repositories with your interests. We recommend just diving in. “Trending” will show you fastest rising tunes, songs climbing the charts and the latest releases. “Genres” will unearth just that — an array of different styles of music.
Let’s say you choose to search for jams by genre. Click on, say, “Indie” and you’ll get a list of tunes/blog posts of the indie-leaning variety. Click on any song to listen/read the blog post. Like what you hear? Add that artist to your aforementioned “Magazine” by clicking the “Plus” sign. Like what you read? Add the blog by doing the same. You can also “Favorite” the song to add it to your personal playlist in your “Profile.” (You can also share via social networks.) Having thoroughly determined the caliber of that particular post and tune, you can either let the app shunt you to the next song/post, or skip around at will. If you just let the app go, however, it will take you through the entire list of tunes playlist-style.
Exploring the “Trending” section works in pretty much the same way. Surfing through “Blogs,” however, is slightly different — when you choose a specific blog to explore you’ll only hear songs/be able to read stories from that publication (obviously). You can still add artists and tunes to your Magazine and Profile, though.
But that’s only the first level of discovery — the hunt and peck method if you will. After you’ve spent sufficient time hunting through blogs and genres and the like, subscribing to artists and publications as you go, you can hit up the “Magazine” tab, which will compile a kind of RSS feed of new stuff from blogs and artists that you enjoy. You can also toggle to your “Profile” to access a whole streaming list of jams that you’ve favorited. Voila! You have a whole new store of music and info, right in the palm of your hand and officially no excuse to ever be bored again.
The only flaw we currently see with the app is that there’s no “Search” function. It would be nice to be able to search for my favorite blogs and artists and add them to my “Magazine,” without having to go the scattershot route.
What do you think of Shuffler.fm’s new app? Would you use it to find new blogs/tunes?