Finetune: Like Pandora, But With More Buttons

Thanks to a friend of mine, I recently discovered Finetune, a Flash-based music recommendation/playlist-creation site.  The site's been around for a while, but it was new to me, so I took it for a test drive.  At its most basic, Finetune is a music recommendation engine, not unlike Pandora.  Unlike Pandora, however, Finetune allows you to select individual tracks and add them to custom playlists that you can then share, tag, embed on your MyFaceSpaceBookBlogger profile, etc.  There are some crazy rules about the playlists (due to the oh so forward-thinking music licensing laws) but overall the experience was a good one.  Here are some hots & nots:

  • 30 second preview of tracks is very useful, and after the preview it takes you back to the previously playing track where you left off.
  • very extensive selection (they get music from most of the major labels + CD Baby and another independent retailer).
  • site design lets you surf around the site without stopping the music.
  • the recommendation engine seem pretty good; based on Elbow it gave me tracks from Muse, Beta Band, and some bands I'd never heard before, but they all matched the vibe I started with.
  • it lets you select individual tracks to add to a playlist - that's a huge leap over Pandora or Slacker.
  • auto-generated playlist doesn't show you upcoming tracks.
  • the interface is simple, but not very intuitive - you need to read most of the FAQ to understand a lot of the options available and also why it does certain things and doesn't do other things.
  • no ability to thumbs up/thumbs down a track/artist.
  • saving a playlist you create requires you to add a minimum of 45 songs from 15 different artists with a maximum of 3 tracks per artist - that's not entirely their fault, it's due to ridiculous licensing laws, but still.  45 tracks?  that's a lot of time to spend putting together a playlist.
  • at the moment, I can't figure out how to get recommendations based on multiple artists, like Pandora - but I'm sure there's a way.
  • the pop-out player didn't work for me (in Chrome).
All in all, it's a good site and I'm hoping to use it more to introduce myself to some new bands.  Anyone else tried it?  What did you think?

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