There are a lot of music apps out there that let you digitally “DJ” to the masses, but there aren’t that many that take the practice further — allowing DJs to broadcast live, professional sets to the world. Enter Mixlr, a Web/desktop app that has just gone mobile.
Mixlr first launched in 2010 as a tool for simple audio livestreaming. Last year, however, it underwent a massive overhaul, adding a ton of social aspects reminiscent of the once-mighty Turntable.fm and a variety of ways to share tunes.
Using the online service, people can choose to be listeners or DJs — or both. If you’re an aspiring DJ, you can sign up for the service for free (or shell out £4.99 for extra features) and start hosting your own “Broadcasts” either by composing playlists from SoundCloud (it plugs right into Mixlr) or downloading the desktop app and streaming live music/talk radio/iTunes picks etc directly from your computer.
Other users can then visit your broadcast room and chat with each other while they listen, as well as share your room via social networks. Once you’re done spinning, you’ll also be able to save your set for future listening.
According to CEO and co-founder Greg Lloyd, Mixlr boasts 500,000 registered users and more than 16,000 monthly broadcasters, a number he expects to grow with the recent release of the Mixlr iPhone app. (Android is in the works.)
The app pretty closely shrinks the online experience down to palm-size. You can surf through a list of genres (as well as search) to find rooms to visit. Once in a room, you’ll be able to chat with other users as well as “Heart” the room, share it to social networks and invite friends. The app also adds a new social layer — not present online — in the form of an activity stream, which allows you to see what your friends are doing via the service.
You will also be able to broadcast right from the app. When we say broadcast, we mean the live iteration discussed above — for some reason, you’re not able to broadcast SoundCloud playlists in-app (which seems like a failing). However, the ability to broadcast a live DJ/music set (either using the phone’s microphone or a mixer or instrument) is pretty handy and we can imagine high-profile bands and artists using the service to serve up exclusive content for fans.
According to Lloyd, the app doesn’t have any famous users quite yet — “Predominantly it’s been semi-pro hobbyists who just want to broadcast easily from anywhere,” he says — but he opines that Mixlr hasn’t needed big acts to garner users. (Still, it couldn’t hurt, could it, for Deadmau5 or the like to make an appearance on the service?)
Mixlr’s functionality, Lloyd believes, is what sets it apart from the crowd. “There’s a big difference between us and Turntable,” he says when asked whether Turntable.fm’s declining popularity has him worried. “Predominantly, Turntable is a platform for anyone to be a DJ. It’s kind of a game. Very gimmicky. We found that giving one person sole control of the platform using the tools they like — not just a Web browser but real production tools — is a lot better for people.”
Mixlr isn’t the only service on the scene, however, to cater to more serious DJs. There’s also the recently launched Mixify, which allows folks to do essentially what Mixlr does: stream DJ sets live and interact with fans. Mixify, however, has not yet released a mobile app.
What do you think? Will more professional apps like Mixify and Mixlr preserver in 2013?
Image courtesy of Flickr, schizoform