How Blip.fm Turns Music Listeners Into Social DJs

bliplogoBlip.fm is one of my favorite music sites on the web, and helps me easily access new music while simultaneously meeting other music lovers and engaging in fun music-related activities. The site leverages tweet-like blips, a virtual currency called props, a huge selection of music and game-like achievements to present the listener with a ton of different ways to listen and share music with friends. We take a look at some of the fun features after the jump.

When a user joins Blip.fm, they are immediately asked to sign up and choose a DJ name. Every user of the site is a ‘DJ’, and that means that the music you choose to broadcast is akin to a DJ spinning hits into a public forum. Other DJs can view your selections, and give props, share your selections with others, choose to ‘follow’ you, gain achievements for having popular taste and of course, play their own music. The world of DJs is interesting, and revolves around the key elements of blips.

Blip.fm describes a Blip as follows: “A blip is a combination of 1) a song and 2) a short message that accompanies it.This idea represents attaching a song to a Tweet-like message (each Blip has to be 150 characters or less), and because clicking on the blip allows you to listen to the song, effectively results in a communication of a person’s thoughts and music at the time. My personal home page has a stream of blips appearing at any time, and I can reblip messages to my followers so they can see what I’m up to and listening. I can also give ‘props’ to a blip.

blipfmoverview

Props are more than just acclaim for other DJs in Blip.fm: they are a limited currency available to the user. This means that while users engage of the action of ‘giving props’ to songs, what they are really doing is spending currency on other users’ blips. There are also achievements for spending props on users and receiving props, which further encourages players to use their props. This also means that props have some stronger significance than a ‘like’ which can be doled out indefinitely on sites like Facebook. Props are earned by “blipping” a lot, inviting friends to blip.fm and gaining props from other users. The system means that players who are great DJs also become rich in Props, and can dole those out to other great DJs. I wouldn’t be surprised if users can pay for more props at some point in the future.

As can be seen in the image below, Blip.fm uses a leveling and badging system to reward users that often participate in the game. By completing tasks like “Blip 14 Days in a row” or “Get props from 10 different DJs in one day”, users are incentivized to blip popular music, give props to other DJs and more. The image shows just four out of tens of different achievements available to the player.

blipbadges

My experience with blip so far has pointed me in the direction of a lot of new songs and artists, and when I first signed up the service asked me to pick 3 artists and it then found a series of Blippers that I should follow, based on my musical taste. The fact that these guys were listening to my favorite bands, and occasional Blips related to those bands now streamed through my homepage meant that the service has become relevant to me.

Note: Blip.fm was actually recommended to me by a reader as a comment on our Social Music: Top 5 Sites To Tune Into Your Friends post earlier this month. Thanks to katybeale and gardnersmitha!