The battle of the playlists - Finetune takes to the stage Friday, February 09, 2007
I've just been playing with Finetune, which is a FREE playlist creation/sharing site, but with real music available to listen to online from artists you've actually heard about.
You enter or select an artist name, and then can listen to a playlist of related artists personalised for you. In creating your own playlist from their library, you can then listen to the tracks as well as share your playlist with others or add it to your blog or MySpace page.
To comply with mandatory rules on what's required to be a Web2.0 app, there is naturally a social network dimension which enables you to explore the finetune community -- browse, listen, create a profile, tag, connect with other users and more.
Interestingly they've been upfront about the commercial angle and anticipate you buying downloads, related products and services.
Perhaps the biggest differentiator is that they actually have a comprehensive music library to listen to. They claim to have to have almost 2 million tracks and growing thanks to agreements with All the major labels and two independents.
Music is tagged by finetune as well as by other users. They have 350 "music categories" with Baroque to Brit-Pop, Ragtime to Rap, African to Zydeco and everything in between.
As well as building your own playlists or discovering other peoples, finetune can build you playlists based on a proprietary recommendation engine, drawing on:
- 7 years of accumulated listener data
- Almost 100 million listener hours
- 20,000 user-created playlists
I've yet to spot how to import playlists from my desktop playlists or those in services like last.fm. This would make the service adoption far easier given the investment made in other playlist services/apps. This is where Sonicswap does such a great job, even at their early beta stage, a company that acquired Earfeeder at the end of last year. They import your iTunes playlist which then can be shared/compared with others.
Finetune is apparently led by survivors of the original Napster, Gigabeat, Listen.com and arguably too many other digital music ventures. Unlike ChartU, artists can't submit their tracks to the service as yet.
In some ways it's similar to Pandora, but diverges in many other ways.