When the history books are finally written about the evolution of music in century 21, the major feature that will hold the historians spellbound is how swiftly popular music moved from being a strictly controlled, media manipulated fiefdom, to a digital free for all, curated by the global crowd. The other surprise is likely to be how much influence YouTube videos had on this shift in consumption.
Google’s video channel is embedded in so many music applications nowadays that’s it’s hard to separate out the tune from the visuals, and nowhere is this more pronounced than in Like.fm. This new music service takes all the visual pretty from Pinterest, along with the social of Last.fm and binds it all together with the YouTube (and Vimeo) video engine to supply the content.
The result is something that almost, but not quite, hits the spot in respect of finding and enjoying new and established artists. The good bits include the easy instant access to tunes, thanks to the mouse hover audition of the front page, and the click and listen of the user generated playlists (or stacks as they’re called). The search engine also does a great job of finding your favourite genres, but as with most of these services there are distinctive gaps in the catalog.
The developers are pitching the service as a way for people to create their own music blogs, rather like Pinterest allows for ‘thing’ blogs, where they can show off their favorite tracks and gain followers and follow others with similar interests. It’s all very fancy, but at the end of the day I’m wondering just how compelling this kind of graphical front end motif for music discovery will be to more than a niche audience. Still, the idea is sound and the execution is top class, including full integration with Twitter and Facebook. One to watch perhaps?