If you’re like me and enjoy listening to music while you work, these sites are NOT for you. You see, these sites are so addicting that adding them to your music discovery and listening options might end up distratcing you from your work for long periods of time. You’ve been warned.
All that said, these sites add an awesome social layer to the music listening experience. I’d recommend them for a time when you’re out looking for new artists and have the time to become immersed. In other words, use these sites when you want to really get into the music and it is the only activity you hope to accomplish at the time.
SoundCloud: SoundCloud is a great service for finding music, streaming music, and even embedding tracks easily into your website. However, the thing I find the coolest about SoundCloud is how they have done the comments. Instead of the comments below the content like you see on every other page, the comments are built right into the content. As the music plays, comments people have placed in the track at particular times display. Yes, you can actually comment on a particular part of the song and see what others have said there too. If you’ve ever had the moment where you’re thinking ‘man, I love this part right here!’ SoundCloud gives you a place to share it and interact with others around a specific piece of music. It’s really fun to see what people say and dive into the conversation.
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/36735760″ params=”auto_play=false&show_artwork=true&color=802b16″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
RapGenius: Now, I’ll warn you before you visit this one: be prepared for edgy…I’d say bordering on inappropriate content. The site deals with the lyrics of hip hop songs and naturally treads some topics that might not be for everyone. However, the cool thing that Rap Genius is doing is giving people a place to help each other understand the meaning behind lyrics. This is especially helpful in rap and hip hop because there are so many references (some very obscure) that many people miss and would like to understand. If you look up the lyrics to a particular song on Rap Genius, you can hover over a line and it will show you the meaning behind that line with a simple explanation. Users submit reasons and the site moderates those. They have an awesome database of explained lyrics already and I think hip hop and non hip hop fans alike will be surprised at the depth and meaning in many of the lyrics. I focus hard on lyrics when I listen to music and still miss a ton of great wordplay and historical references present in songs. It’s a great example of how a community can help each other to better understand an enjoy music and I won’t be surprised if sites focusing on other genres begin to pop up soon.
Turntable.fm: We’ve talked about this one before, but turntable.fm is awesome. It is a simple, awesome service. Turntable allows you to set up a virtual room and play music in it. From there you can invite friends to listen with you. You can chat and comment right in the room all while listening to the same tunes at the same time. Doesn’t get more social than that!