Sunday 26 February 2017

Sounds of the blogosphere

Niall Byrne

The popular music blog aggregator site Elbo.ws currently lists over 4,000 blogs. This exorbitant number is an indication of just how much noise there is in the music blogosphere and that number only counts what has been submitted.

With so much music out there to discover, how do you find a music blogger or a site whose taste aligns with yours? Here's a look at some recent kicking solutions that address this problem.

One answer is Ex.Fm, a handy extension for Google Chrome that saves links to MP3s on pages as you browse into a playlist, so you can listen to a continuous mix of music. It queues up Soundcloud embeds, allows you to play favourite songs and share them with others through your Last.FM, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr accounts.

Ex.FM is essentially an iTunes-esque social jukebox for your browser and very well done it is too. The four-man, New York-based team recently raised $750,000 in funding, so watch out for more features in the coming months.

Also from the Ex.FM team is the poorly titled The Super Awesome Music Blog Finder Thingy™ (ex.fm/labs/blogfinder), an experimental 'labs' tool that recommends music blogs for you to check out based on your Last.FM data. It matches the artists in your library with those featured on music blogs, leaving you with a tailored page result of new voices to check out.

As a music blogger myself, I can tell you I found a couple of new regular haunts even I didn't know existed before.

Mac users rejoice, for there is a super-sexy-looking solution to your music-blog browsing needs. Peel (getpeel.com) is a desktop program that looks like iTunes yet gets juiced up on music blog feed data. From there you can load up your favourite blog, read their latest entries, play their song choices and download the tunes to your local hard drive at a click. Peel plays nice with all the usual social stuff too: Last.FM and Facebook in particular.

The only bad news? Peel will set you back $24.95. The intuitive interface certainly is a winner, but Ex.FM's recent upgrade has made this look less of a bargain. Also, Ex.FM's queuing of songs while you browse is automatic. Peel first-timers have to be familiar with blogs to manually add them for it to be really useful.

If you'd prefer to listen to music another time rather than as you browse and would rather create your own playlists instead of letting Ex.FM build it for you, the aptly-titled Later.FM is here to help. If you haven't got the time to listen to something, click Later.FM's button and a playlist is created. It's compatible with songs from Soundcloud, MP3 links and Tumblr audio posts and only contains songs you specifically want to hear.

See also: Top 10 music discovery sites you should know from the Day & Night Digital archives. Visit bit.ly/dndiscovery.

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