Channel Surf the Blogosphere for the latest tracks with Shuffler.fm

by Kara Murphy on September 8, 2010

Go ahead. Don't be shy. Select a genre and get going.

It seems like every other week, a new music service is launched with the intention of being the ultimate, one-stop “music discovery tool.” Truth be told, any savvy music aficionado will own up to the fact that they use at least two or more tools to find, stream, and download new and classic music alike.

Since there’s always the promise of “the next big thing” looming, whether it’s the rather failed impact Ping (the social extension of iTunes 10) had on consumers or Google’s forthcoming music service that’s reportedly making a grand debut on Christmas day, I decided to spend some time with Shuffler.fm, which I discovered through a feature on Mashable, to see if it’s something I’d actually use on a consistent basis. The answer, quite surprisingly, is “yes” and “daily.”

In my own biased opinion, the best local Bay Area music scene coverage can be found right here on Spinning Platters. I also use Rdio to stream full-length albums, find out which releases are trending within my network of friends, and create/contribute to/share custom playlists. Pandora is another fantastic, customizable recommendation service and their free iPhone application comes in handy when I don’t have time to make a new workout mix.

When it comes to aggregating what’s new and notorious amongst the thousands of music entities that populate the blogosphere, The Hype Machine is still my favorite service for discovering what’s current and which artists/songs are gaining the most traction amongst its millions of users. However, one thing I have always yearned for on the Web is a site that gives its users seamless access to the latest tracks categorized by genre. Alas, this is where Shuffler.fm fits into the mix.

Founded by the team at Tone, a collective that boasts the ability to take Web and mobile applications from concept to creation, Shuffler.fm allows you to browse over 1,600 music blogs, and counting (there is a submission link on the homepage), from 120 different genres that range from Pop, Rock, and Hip-Hop to extremely obscure ones like Baleric, IDM (short for Intelligent Dance Music), and even location-based “Chicago.”

The ability to easily browse back and forth between songs, favorite standout tracks on Facebook, Twitter, or both, e-mail links to friends, all while scrolling through the accompanying blog post, is what makes Shuffler.fm an attractive solution for those constantly seeking out new music. Depending on which genre you select, influential blogs such as Consequence of Sound and Stereogum are seamlessly intermingled with lesser-known, newly emerging treasures like Music From Go to Whoa. This maximizes exposure to resources that may have otherwise gone undiscovered and bloggers will certainly benefit from an increase in traffic. Below are some slides illustrating how it works:

Easily scroll between the 120 genres currently available.

FYI, you've now started. The player at the top allows you to easily scroll back and forth between tracks - a feature that Pandora doesn't allow due to restrictions on their licensing deals.

Of course, no algorithm is perfect. Chromeo's smash hit song, "Fancy Footwork," is over three years old yet it's still mentioned on a continual basis by bloggers to this day.

Growing tired of one particular genre? Click on the left-hand menu to cross over.

The music player displays how many times a song has been liked on Facebook or shared on Twitter.

When you like or tweet a track, you can customize the caption before the link that takes you directly back to the mp3 and blog post.

As its user base grows, it would be really interesting if Shuffler.fm displayed which tracks were shared on Twitter (something The Hype Machine already does) and Facebook on a daily, weekly, monthly, and so on basis. Another metric worth tracking, especially across each genre, is which blogs are getting the most kudos with the social networks. This would be a great method of measuring and highlighting the overall influence of standout bloggers.

Shuffler.fm is a service I’m definitely benefitting from in terms of easily discovering what the music blogosphere is buzzing about day-to-day. In fact, if I wasn’t using it the other night, I may have accidentally bypassed this great feature from Stereogum. I highly recommend giving it a whirl.

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