In the crowded on-demand streaming music space, it's hard to be heard over the options. The new Myspace just banged the gong by relaunching with a catalog of 53 million tracks — more than twice that of Spotify.
And, as of now, it's free, unlimited and commercial-free. Competing services like Pandora, Spotify and Rdio require a subscription to skip the commercials.
If you last visited Myspace when it was a mainly a social network site, you may not recognize it. Myspace now puts music first, and ties in social features to help you connect with others and keep track of your favorite artists.
The site's clean design focuses on information about the music. The music player itself sits at the bottom of the Web page. Images of the musicians or album covers, articles about music trends, and track lists — things to focus on while you listen — take up most of the page.
With so much music to choose from, Myspace needs to help you find what you'd like to hear. If you have no clue what you want to listen to, the site provides featured artists as well as playlists created by users and stars like Justin Timberlake (a prominent investor in the service whose face is all over the site). You can also see what's most popular and check out new releases. [See also: New Apps Make Finding Music Easier ]
Myspace includes a powerful search function. If you know an artist, album or song you'd like to hear, just start typing — no need to click in a search box — and the site will show results on the fly. As you type more letters, the results narrow. This can be especially useful if you're looking a specific song by a specific artist.
Showing its roots as a social network, Myspace integrates features to help you connect with other users. When you create an account for the site, you also get a profile page that you can manage by adding a bio and photos. You can post 150-character status updates to your profile and create your own playlists to share with others.
Beyond that, you can "connect" to any song, artist or album. When you connect with an artist, you'll see updates they post. Connecting to a song or album lets you post a comment about it and engage in discussions with other fans.
The site also offers a radio option like Pandora's. Radio stations can be based on any artist or song — just click the radio button while listening to a song, and it will start a playlist of related songs. But the radio feature needs refinement. In testing, it often played songs unrelated to the artist. For example, a Miles Davis-based station played Kool and the Gang.
Myspace's relaunch could pose a threat to Spotify, Pandora and other big names in streaming music. With double the music of any competitor, you'll usually find something you want to listen to. The only downside is that there's no mobile access yet, though the service says one is in development.
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