After my original review of playlist sharing services, and FIQL addendum, I've been contacted again, this time from Ben of Mixmatcher. So here's a quick canter through a review, based on my experience of setting up the same-old, same-old playlist using Mixmatcher.
|Audio||Provides indirect links to samples on iTunes, but uses a perl script hack to the iTunes Music Store that doesn't work on my Mac, at least with the range of media players I have installed.|
|Community||Other users can provide comments and can vote on individual tracks in a playlist (either 'agree' or 'disagree'). There are no forums. Users can add tracks to others' playlists — see below.|
|Usability||To add tracks, you have to search by artist or by artist and album, and then click on the album your track is on, before you can select it. This is longwinded and in some cases users will not know the album on which their preferred track is to be found (to speed this up, I used my Upto11.net version of the playlist to identify the albums concerned). Changing the sequence of tracks on a list is more straightforward than some alternative services and less than others. It appears you can only browse playlists in date order or alphabetical order: there is no sorting by genre, mood or other category.|
|Portability||There is a link to an XML version of each playlist created (although this didn't work for my playlist straight away).|
|Special features & selling points||You can buy tracks from playlists on iTunes Music Store or Amazon (the link goes to the US store). Uniquely among the playlist services I have seen, you can specify that your playlist should be 'open', which allows other users to add tracks to it. Another unique feature is that you can enter your Amazon associate ID so that you earn commission on any click-through sales that originate from your playlist.|
Overall Mixmatcher shares the general approach of FIQL, Soundflavor and Upto11.net. While it it offers scope for collaborative playlists, which none of the other services support, at the moment its usability — particularly the effort required to add songs to a playlist — is a bit of a drawback.
According to the help page direct song title searching is coming soon. And Ben adds,
The metadata aspect of the site is also something that I think is unique… every song and artist (and soon, album) has a reference link which displays every playlist that includes that song/artist. What this allows you to do is a) find related music through related playlists [David Jennings: Webjay also has this feature], but also b) fabricate/understand a song's meaning (sort of like tagging, but the "tag" is the playlist) through the playlists it is included in. For example: the reference link for Pictures of You should tell you pretty much what that song is about (or when to listen to it) without ever having heard it. I havent seen any/many other sites doing this kind of aggregation. This is a benefit of that clunky song-finding system I use (which is using Amazon's web services as a music library).Posted by David Jennings in section(s) Future of Music, Human-Computer Interaction, Music and Multimedia, Playlists, Reviews on 1 July 02005 | TrackBack