Sing it with me, ‘Social music is the future’

I’ve been reading a lot (and trying out) some new and exciting music applications over the past week or so, with people starting to explore hitherto uncharted territory. Everyone and their dog are launching cloud based music streaming services (Amazon have joined Sony in making theirs live, leaving Apple and Google behind), but the really interesting ideas are all stemming from the different ways that we share music and the situations in which we listen to it.

It all started last year when Spotify added in social elements to its service. We all had fun nosing at other people’s playlists and their most played tracks. We thought carefully about what we would share and who should share it with and made collaborative playlists with people we’ve never even met in real life (IRL.)

Then at the back end of 2010, Shazam followed up by announcing Spotify integration in its smart phone apps. If you never Shazam-ed, it’s a music recognition service which helps you find out what that song is you can hear when in a shop/Starbucks/pub. Last week, Shazam took another big step in increasing its social music service by adding Shazam Friends. It’s a tab on its smart phone app which is integrated with Facebook and allows you to see which songs your friends have tagged recently.

It’s the fact that Shazam Friends recognises the different ways we consume music in the 21st century that’s so interesting. It’s not just about picking a song to play, it’s being aware of the music that surrounds us all the time and taking an active interest rather than letting it wash over us. That’s where my new favourite app, Soundtracking, takes its lead. It’s a way of tracking music across your entire day and sharing it with your friends. In a similar way to foursquare, you have Soundtracking friends, but you can also automatically share your updates with Facebook/Twitter/foursquare. You have three options in the app – the song you’re playing on your iPhone/Touch, tag a song you can hear (like Shazam) or just update manually. When you use the app and stop and think about, we hear a lot of music every day, jogging our memories and playing with our emotions.

If you’re not interested in sharing your musical loves and hates with all and sundry, than maybe Moodagent is for you. Services like Last FM and Stereomood allow you to pick tunes based on your state of mind when streaming through your PC, but Moodagent goes one step further, scanning your library on your music playing device and grouping your tracks according to its index of songs. This Mashable article has the full details, but it shows the next level of music consumption, and the sophistication that listening to music on an internet-enabled device.

Does it mean the death of the classic iPod? Not just yet, but Soundtracking has made this iPod Classic devotee think long and hard about switching to an iPod Touch.

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