Can Social Music Recommendation Service Yoogli Take On Pandora

I recently had a chance to check out a new socially driven music recommendation service called Yoogli. Offering a playlist generator, artist recommendation engire, news aggregator and social network all in one, Yoogli hopes to serve as a platform upon which to share and discover new music. It also syncs with iTunes and generates playlists based on what you’re listening to, which you can then share with your friends. Sounds pretty cool, but can this young Newport Beach based company deliver?
Yoogli is currently in open beta, and many features are not fully implemented, so it’s difficult to gauge how all the different aspects of the service will come together once it’s been refined and their user base increases over time. At this point in time, the service is a bit lackluster.
That being said Yoogli offers some compelling functionality already, including a great music news aggregator, and featured user generated playlists accessible directly from the homepage. Browsing the site for a couple of minutes had already introduced me to a couple of new bands and some interesting news bits.
Their blog is great, promoting independent bands and talking about the latest in the music industry. The writers have an obvious passion for music and knowledge of the industry, and the content is always up to date.
Another excellent aspect of Yoogli in its current form is their database of band bios and information, although a discography would be nice instead of an unsorted track listing.
Where Yoogli loses a bit of steam is in its recommendation engine and user interface. After logging in and setting up the Yoogli client with my iTunes, I was presented with a list of artists that “we think you’ll enjoy”. All the artists on this list were already in my library. It would be nice to see recommendations cross referenced with tracks in my iTunes library since I’ve gone through the trouble of installing a stand-alone application.
The Music Discovery Portal on the homepage allows you to enter your favourite artist in order to generate a list of similar artists you might like, much like Pandora. A quick search using Daft Punk as a starting point generated 3 results: Madonna, !!! and Kelly Clarkson.
With so much potential I’m still hopeful that Yoogli will be able to refine their platform and improve their search throughout this beta so that one day they may offer up a real challenge to big players like Pandora.