To be quite honest, I don’t listen to the radio much these days. I tried listening to the radio when I first arrived here in New York City–the urban format stations- and for the first time in my life, I found listening to music to be a pain. For most of my life, I have always lived in a major music market so I’ve always had the privilege of diversity in music. Even through listening to one preferred station in my younger days, I still felt like I got a wide range of music from within a specified genre. Let’s take hip-hop for example.
There once was a time when the radio would play a wide range of hip-hop, from A Tribe Called Quest to Tupac to DMX, with a good mix of R&B/Pop/Hip-Hop genre benders like Mary J. Blige, Ashanti and the like. More so today, it seems as if only five artists even get radio play though there are a slew of successful artists out. Nowadays, artists are able to promote their music to the masses themselves all through the help of the internet. Soulja Boy, Wiz Khalifa, Drake and Kid Cudi are just a few of the artists who have replaced the importance of the stereo with URLs and downloads. Now, with the help of Shuffler.fm, internet just may kill the radio altogether.
‘It’s like Pandora or MTV for music blogs.‘
That’s what a testimonial proclaims near the footer of the Shuffler.fm website. And it’s probably the most accurate description one could provide in everyday conversation.
For the more curious reader (or listener), Shuffler.fm aggregates music found on a curated list of music blogs around the web and categorizes songs by genre. When you click on a channel they send you to a blog post and start playing one of the songs mentioned on that post. If you don’t like it you can skip ahead or pick another channel from the shuffler bar on the top of the page.
When the song ends, they send you to the next song on the next blog but always keep you within the same genre. Shuffler.fm does their best to never repeat song selections and always send you to a new blog. In a way, the onset of Shuffler.fm has possibly just made a significant innovation in social music media.
Shuffler.fm just may be better than Pandora because Pandora can only introduce you to unsigned artists from all over the world as well as known artists and popular acts. Of course, with Pandora music can only be added if it is licensed and available for purchase. It isn’t like HypeMachine because HypeMachine aggregates mp3’s into their player from music blogs around the web but keeps you on their own site, it doesn’t take you to the source. And since MySpace is still trying to get it’s hold on music, Shuffler.fm just may be a good substitute for music fans on a constant quest for new music. With Shuffler.fm it’s also easy to share music with your friends via Twitter, Facebook and e-mail. Shuffler.fm has plans to add streaming video from YouTube and Vimeo in the future as well as an iPhone and iPad app. Shuffler.fm is currently in Alpha, meaning there are still a few kinks to be worked out. But it’s definitely a great product so far.
It may very well be that radio is becoming a lot less important to music artists today. And it may also very well be that music blogs have become more important to the music game than anyone may have ever imagined.