Audiophiles have plenty to complain about when it comes to music players. Algorithm-based systems, such as those popularized by the likes of Pandora, lack the human element when picking selections to play. Similarly, streaming apps ⎯ including Live365 and Songza ⎯ are pre-programmed to someone else’s taste, with little chance for outside influence of the playlist. Spotify is hit or miss depending on list creators, who may or may not have the most expansive (or even good) tastes in music!
When it comes to music discovery, can a balance be struck between being controllable and being out of the box? Shuffler.fm seems to thinks so. The app uses blogs, the top curation tool of music experts, to guide listeners to new music.
Is Shuffler.fm’s method of mixing up in-the-know pros’ playlists the key to keeping listeners tuned in? Find out after the jump.
Create Your Radiozine
Shuffler.fm considers itself an “audio magazine made by music blogs.” Each website that registers with the service has sorted through tons of MP3s and videos, seeking out the tunes that they think their audiences should be listening to.
If the blogs have properly classified their sounds into satisfactory genres, users of Shuffler.fm ⎯ who are advised to create an account to best utilize the service ⎯ can instantly start scanning styles to start listening to new music.
Among the top choices are indie, electronic, hip-hop and mixtape, but dig deeper into the crates for offerings such as gangsta rap, witch house, noise pop and Chicago channels.
What makes Shuffler.fm so appealing is the overabundance of ear candy. There’s so much here and you’ll appreciate the volume. When was the last time you had that experience on iHeartRadio or even a terrestrial station?
Once you’ve opened a genre, pick a track to get started. The selection will usually start right away and, should you need them, buttons are available to pause or scan through a song.
Not a fan of what’s on your channel? Tap the skip buttons on either side of the pause button, or flick to the right to hear the previous track or to the left to listen to a new tune. There doesn’t appear to be a limit as to how many times this can be done.
The songs will play from newest post to oldest. Time stamps are typically along the bottom of the song’s picture, so make sure you don’t skip any good recent additions.
Remember how Shuffler.fm sources its musical content from blogs? The text from those posts can be found by clicking on “View Original Post,” which will provide an in-app, full-page view of the posting page. This allows users to learn more about the artist they are hearing or to get the playlists of songs featured in mixtapes and podcasts.
It’s also easy to explore the blog while you’re accessing posts in Shuffler.fm. Scan the website’s about section, other posts, list of contributors and more, and take pleasure in knowing that none of this will disrupt the sound quality or create skips in your currently streaming soundtrack.
In won’t take long to find addictive tracks that you’ll want to put on repeat. To the right of the song’s progress bar will be a star and a send-to icon. Tap the star to add a tune to your favorites list.
The favorites list is yet another option you’ll have to listen to music. Though it offers little in the way of music discovery, as you’ve marked these as songs you like, it can be a quick way to access memorable cuts, as well as to mark tracks for future listening.
Shuffler.fm makes sure you’re never a beat off. If you created an account, your marked songs will be available on Shuffler.fm whenever you access them, including on your iPhone or on the Shuffler.fm website.
Everyday I’m Shufflin’?
Shuffler.fm succeeds in engaging music fans as much as they want to be engaged. Listeners can read the posts featuring the song they’re listening to or they can simply let Shuffler.fm be the source of ear-pleasing background noise. For the most part, Shuffler.fm also allows users to be entertained with familiar tunes, but offers avenues for exploration (and escape!) no matter what your preferences may be.
It may seem overwhelming knowing where to begin. But with so many curators with such diversified tastes, just know that you won’t be forced to listen to the same song over and over again. You also might get exposed to stuff from back in the day that you missed because it slipped through the cracks on pop radio or came out before your time.
The fact that Shuffler.fm transitions well between platforms is a huge part of why it’s a must-use app. Unfortunately, though, the iPad version is missing many of the perks of the iPhone equivalent. Gone are most of the listing options, the better (but by no means perfect) sorting tools, and the ability to subscribe to your favorite blogs and artists.
iPad’s Shuffler.fm also doesn’t utilize the profile feature in the same ways that it can be used on the iPhone app. While the website is definitely Shuffler.fm at its best, and the iPhone edition is a good runner-up and the king in the mobile space, Shuffler.fm on iPad is still one app that truly delivers when it comes to discovering new music.