Here's a quick roundup of some cool new (or just new to me) stuff happening in the exciting world of Music 2.0 (or whatever it's called nowadays):
- OWL Music Search
This service has been around for a while, but I never really thought about it until last weekend when I needed to find some music for a 48 Hour Film I was making. I was looking through Jamendo but wasn't finding any Creative Commons-licensed songs that sounded like a song I had in mind - that's where OWL comes in. You upload an MP3 via their Java applet, select a 5-second snippet, and tell it to find songs that match. We didn't end up using anything from it because we changed our mind about the style of music we wanted, but it's still a very cool-looking service.
- CAL Playlist Comparison
A project out of UC San Diego that plays you a song, uses some existing tools to create playlists with that song as the seed, and then asks you to rate how well each playlist meets your expectations. I'm hoping this information will then be used to improve different recommendation engines across the board.
- Free Music Archive
Created by WFMU with a grant from the state of New York, this is a massive archive of "high-quality, legal audio downloads" that are pre-cleared for nearly every kind of non-commercial use. A feature I like is that you can browse the archive by "curator" and see what an actual human being (ostensibly with some credentials in this area) thinks of the different musical options available.
When Del The Funky Homosapien made his latest album available for free, he didn't do it on his own web site or through iTunes or by sending out CDs with newspapers. He did it through Bandcamp, a very innovative web site which makes it extremely simple for bands to sell their songs over the web. What makes them awesome is that the band can set the price per track/album (including no price) and that they offer about 10 different levels of audio quality for us audiophiles/music nerds. The introductory video is actually pretty watchable.
- The Music Explaura
Another recommendation engine, this time using a tag-based approach. I'll let them explain why they think their system is smarter than the average bear.
- Blip.fm Recommender Bot
I confess, I don't really see the point of Blip.fm. There are a lot of different ways to tell the Twitterverse what you're listening to, and I don't see why they need their own twitter clone on their own site - don't we have enough things to click on in our day? Regardless, this is still a very cool idea: you "blip" a song (basically post a link to the song to Twitter via Blip.fm [which is actually streaming the music via Seeqpod]) and add a #recsplease hashtag to your tweet. The Recommender Bot picks up on your request, queries the Echo Nest API for similar artists, and tweets them back at you. I love this idea, and not only because it ties together something like 20 underlying tools.
- Last.fm Visual Radio
Last.fm just released the latest version of their streaming music player. New features include pictures, combo stations, and station history. What will they think of next? Hopefully better-looking pictures without that weird screen-door effect over them.