Social music streaming websites are on the rise and Playlistnow.fm is the latest social music streaming entrant in an increasingly popular space that’s gaining momentum with music fans. The music service streams music based on what you happen to be doing or whatever mood your in. Playlistnow has all the typical sharing features of a music sharing service, allowing for creating and sharing of playlists, viewing other users top playlists and of course following those of your friends.
The concept of streaming music based on mood isn’t entirely new. Musicovery.com uses the same concept, but the service didn’t really reach mass adoption and has no social functions to speak of. Even though the company service recently released an iPhone app, a business model is nowhere in sight. Playlistnow.fm apparently has one in the works but the service remains presently ad-supported.
Playlistnow.fm makes it easy to start playing music with a very clean interface design. The main page is organized by top playlists, songs and artists for the week. Can’t decide on your mood? There’s no shortage of playlists to browse. Themes range from work to chilling to sports. Hitting the play button on the Top Playlist of the week “I am on my Mac” immediately starts playing Voltare by Gipsy Kings. I am not sure how that particular latin song meshes with a mood of being at my mac, but I’ll play along. I get prompted to sign up to the service and I’m encourage to take advantage of the services more robust features for sharing playlists with friends and getting recommendations, but I choose to cancel that for now.
Being the most popular playlist, “I am on my Mac” is also is also the largest. A quick scan reveals a diverse mix of tracks from 50 Cent, Eric Clapton, Weezer and everything in between. The music selection on this list seems fairly arbitrary, but I’m not complaining. I then notice the service really emphases the use of social features. Next to each song is a button that allows the sharing and recommendation of the current song on either Twitter or Facebook. You can also to choose to favorite a track to your own personal “Tiny Playlist” of favorite tracks. As I do this, I’m prompted again to sign up for the service. I agree and am relieved to see the Facebook Connect option to sign in to the service with. All the while, the music keeps playing in the background without interruption – very nice. After it searches my Facebook friends for other followers of the service (there are none) and takes me through the usual recommended followers process, I decide that I’ll follow the five staff members music choices. As I’m doing this Mary J Blige’s Family Affair appears on the bottom player window but I hear nothing from my speakers. I hit next track and John Mayer begins to serenade me – problem solved.
After this I’m told about a feature that’s available to me called the “Level bar”, which I can watch on my homepage and increases when people bookmark playlists, like songs, and recommend playlists. Neat social concept, as it rates you in relation to others in terms of your popularity based on your song and playlists choices. I go to check out my Level bar on my home page and am disappointed to see the HTML skeleton of the widget, but when I choose to “like” the John Mayer song the problem disappears and the Level bar boosts me to Rookie DJ. Success! It also announces my liking of the song to the Friends Feed.
There still are some kinks to work out. Typing in a common “I am working” mood search took longer than anticipated. Despite minor bugs throughout the website and annoying popup reminders to register, overall Playlistnow is fun to use and delivers.