With the launch of Radical.FM‘s public beta I have rediscovered a long-lost love, fostered in the ’80s saturated cartoons and buddy-pics of my youth: ridiculous adjectives. Despite the fact that the new social music service is probably more notable for its committment to innovative features and interesting software, for me at least, it creates a more notable distinction for itself on name alone.
So what is Radical.FM? Well, we might as well do this right.
Radical.FM looks to set itself apart from the pack through the inclusion of a suite of essential features, all integrated into a single service. Inspired by user-made “radio station” sites (like Slacker and Pandora) and the kind of on-demand playlist creation made popular by Rhapsody, Radical.FM looks to position itself as a sort of “catch-all” social music solution.
The application is presented well, coming complete with robust player controls and an interesting new take on song recommendation that shrugs off tricky algorithms in favor of user-chosen genre groupings. Being able to select from given genres (defined by personal takes on the nebulous term) allows for more intelligent blending of smaller playlists into a greater whole. Operating as a browser-based application (with mobile iterations to follow), Radical.FM combines a number of the most popular social music features into a single service in a way that could very well attract a devout fan following.
STOKED FOR NEW SOFTWARE?
The current inclusion of — and I swear I’m not making this name up — RadCast, Radical.FM’s patent-pending music streaming software, and plans for the release of DeeJay (technology that allows users to speak to their RadCast subscribers) also serve to make the service a unique one. While these two features alone create a great opportunity for amateur DJs, Radical.FM is also working on the launch of a sister site, Radical Indie — something that would help to bolster support for fledging artists while simultaneously creating a community where discovering new bands is simple. The current (and future software) that act as Radical.FM’s foundation provide fantastic possibilities for users interested in the social side of web-based listening.
And that brings us to:
Social networking has been given its dues with Radical.FM as well. Aside from the standard inclusion of Facebook invitations, the most community-centered aspect of the app comes from its ability to be used as a free personal radio station, as touched on above. Radical.FM provides every member with their own station and is working on offering Play On Demand services to premium subscribers. Regardless of whether a user chooses to pony up money or not, the social aspect made possible through radio functionality is a fantastic way to share and discover music with friends and strangers alike.
Personal music streams can be shared by both amateur enthusiasts and professional recording artists. In Radical.FM’s press information, the app’s creators even posit the (corporate daydream) of ” . . . Lady Gaga . . . [having] millions of fans tune-in to her station”. The fact that Radical.FM’s infrastructure is composed of legal files makes this actually possible — and a pretty excited prospect.
Interested in checking out the (actually not in any way 80’s-culture related) Radical.FM for yourself? Do a click on these words and sign up for the free public beta to take it for a spin. It’s fresh enough that, even in beta, I’m willing to give it a tenative four out of a possible five cowabungas.