Keeping up with music can sometimes feel like a chore, especially if you aren’t in your younger years of exploration anymore. Currently, with the Internet providing us with the opportunity to meet so many new artists from around the world, we have so much music at our disposal, and we’re bound to like some of it more than other.
That’s why there are services like Last.fm and Pandora, which use your previous history of listened music as a tool to bring you music that fits your tastes. Today we’re reviewing something similar that bundles the functionality of many music services into a simple and cool-looking Mac app called Discovr Music.
Discovr Music has the best of many worlds. Instead of having to visit one site to find out the names of artists you might like, then visiting another site to find out about them and finally another site to buy their music, here you can have it all in one very cool app. It can recommend you artists based on artists that you like, it can tell you all of the information you need to know about them and it can give you a ton of resources to find out more about them.
To get you started with the app, you are shown a few artists from your iTunes library on the bottom. These are displayed as a bar on the bottom of the interface, and each artist is represented by an image of them. You can click any of these to access the navigation system for him, which is where you get started discovering and it’s also where we are going next.
Interface and Navigation
What’s most interesting about this app is perhaps the way it is setup, and the way the navigation works. It tries to be pretty characteristic and original, and for the most part it succeeds beyond similar apps like Aweditorium (for the iPad).
Basically, when you see or look up any artist, it will appear in a circle in the middle of the app and with the name and a picture of the artist. Surrounding it, there will be some connected similar circles displaying the artists the app thinks are similar. If you click once in any artist, it will create more circles with his batch of alike artists. If you double click the artist, you’ll be brought to his page, which brings us to our next topic.
Artist & Album Pages
Pretty much every artist has his own page with a lot of useful information and related media about them. The way these pages are structured, you have a horizontal video reel on the top, and below it you have three rows with the biography, albums, and interesting links for said band.
The videos are not played inside the app, if you click any of them it’ll be shown to you in a new window in your browser. The bio section will show you a brief introduction about the band (this is pulled from Last.fm’s database, from what I can tell). The links part is kind of a link aggregator for the most recent blog posts, reviews, and relevant links related to the band. The albums section is nicely structured, and you can easily see the name, release date and cover of all of the band’s albums. You can click any of them and see the track listing, as well as hear 30-second snippets of each one of the songs.
The real negative thing about this app is that it only lets you listen to 30-second parts of each song. But the developer fixes this by giving you the option of opening songs in Spotify, iTunes, Rdio, MOG or Rhapsody; and they all work pretty well. You also can tweet and post to Facebook what you are listening to, and you can even queue songs (although there’s not much to queue, unless you like listening to song previews).
What Should You Use It For?
You could say that this is an app for music lovers, but I actually think that’s not quite the case. A real music lover that knows his stuff will not find this app to be powerful enough to meet his tastes, at least not in the recommendations department. I say this because I consider myself an avid fan and even I could tell that the recommendations are not exactly precise, at least not as much as a user-powered service like Last.fm has.
Not being able to listen to full songs by the band is also kind of a bummer, especially when we have awesome services like Spotify, thesixtyone and many more that allow you to do just that. I understand that music licensing is a really tough topic, but it would be nice if the devs of this app pulled their music from a source different than iTunes (like Aweditorium does with thesixtyone). Some users might find this app useful for their musical exploration, but I find it much more convenient to listen to a simpler radio service like the ones I’ve previously mentioned. Again, that’s just me and I’m not going to take credit away from this app.
Overall, Discovr Music is a nice, simple way for people not really invested in music to easily discover new artists to buy music from (in iTunes). Instead of having information spread across several different websites, here you can have it all displayed in one page. The description from Last.fm, the library information from your iTunes, and the resources of dozens of blogs and critics. Most importantly, it will give you artists that you might like based on what you already know, although it won’t provide you with a way of listening to them.
Whether you’ll like this app is a matter of personal taste. I know everyone has his own ways of finding new music, and they are hard to change. I know I already have my system setup in a combination of Spotify (for listening to albums that I hear about on blogs), Last.fm (for recollecting info on what I listen to, for the radio/recommendations, and the community) and iTunes (for syncing with my iPod).
What is your system for listening and finding new music? Have you used apps like this? Have you found them useful? Share your opinions!