Chrome extension Exfm is out with a new iPhone app that deftly blends expert curation with friends’ suggestions for truly immersive music discovery.
Exfm launched last year under the moniker ExtensionFM and touted itself as an easy way to scrape music blogs for all the free MP3s they offer. Those MP3s were then organized into playable tracklists, letting you listen to a constant stream of jams without having to actually read reviews.
The company later relaunched the plugin as Exfm, a version 2.0 packed with new features, including integration with Last.fm, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Now users could collect MP3s as they browsed and share them via their social networks. They could also follow other users and tastemakers and see what tunes were on others’ radars.
The free iOS app is basically the mobile iteration of that service, a new tool that lets users take all the music they’ve discovered on the go, as well as get suggestions from other users. And, of course, all the tracks can be purchased in-app.
Here’s how the whole deal works: If you don’t already have Exfm installed, do so. You’ll still need the web version to get the complete experience (the mobile iteration does not yoink MP3s from blogs you visit on your iPhone). Go about your regularly scheduled surfing, letting the web plugin pluck the sweet musical fruit from the wordy blog trees. Listen to jams via the plugin and “Note” those that you like — this is basically Exfm’s version of “Liking.”
When you fire up the Exfm app on your walk home (there’s no offline caching, sadly, so it won’t work on the train), all of your “Noted” songs with be in a listenable stream. If you’re like me, you download about 20-plus free MP3s per day, and it can be a pain to drag those all over to iTunes and add them to your music library. Exfm gets rid of that hassle.
In addition, you can also follow friends and what Exfm calls “Tastemakers” (music bloggers, etc.) and check out what they’re listening to. “Note” their songs to add them to your stream. You can also listen to music from your iPod app inside of Exfm, “Note” those songs, and share them via Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.
Ask some pundits about the future of music discovery, and they’ll likely say something to the effect of: “Critics will become obsolete. We will henceforth trust the opinions of our friends alone.” In fact, a lot of music discovery apps rely on one’s social graph to surface results: Rdio and Soundtracker spring to mind.
What we like about Exfm’s app is that it doesn’t wholly rely on social in order to function. It scrapes music blogs — that premiere and curate music daily — for new jams and allows you to pick and choose what you like. Yes, friend recommendations are important, but even your most musically inclined bud has to find music somewhere. Exfm recognizes that fact by making blogs the source of its content.
Still, the app doesn’t lock you into curated content — like the Hype Machine’s Hype Radio app does in many ways — letting you still have access to musically savvy friends and their varied deep cuts and basement tapes.
Check out Exfm’s new app and let us know what you think. Did you find any new jams?
Image courtesy of Flickr, Carnoodles
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