I started using StumbleUpon a few days ago, and the first site it recommended to me was so awesome, I’ve been afraid to let it suggest anything else to me. Finetune.com does social networking for music the right way. I’ve tried Yahoo!’s LaunchCast, which is okay but doesn’t seem to vary enough with it’s suggestions.
The first cool thing about Finetune that I noticed was that it was very intuitive. All I had to do was plug in a name of an artist/band I like (I chose Cake) and off it went. It started up a song by Cake and continued to play similar artists until I changed it. It didn’t even require registration. You can change the artist at any time by going back to the home page and entering a new artist. The site displays a small player on the left hand side of every page with the album art and linkable text (when you hover over the album) to the artist, album, or song page.
The second, and what the site builds itself around, is the ability to create your own playlist. Take that LaunchCast! Not only create it, but once you have at least 45 tracks, you can share it. You can name your playlist, upload your own icon for it, and give it a description. This feature requires registration, of course.
That leads me to the third Cool Thing about Finetune. When you’re browsing artists, you can claim yourself as a fan of that artist as well as see other users that are also fans.
Cool Thing number four – they have pre-made stations. I used some of these to add more artists and songs to my playlists.
Finally, number five, although the list is a tad bit longer. The design is pretty intuitive, although I had kind of a hard time figuring out how to create a second playlist after the default. You have to close your current playlist and then attempt to add a song using the + icon; then it will pop up a menu asking if you want to add it to an existing playlist, which is listed, or add it to a new playlist.
[Update: Cool Thing number 6, which I forgot, is the “related artists” feature. This does exactly what it says, lists related artists for the band/artist you have selected. If you have eclectic music tastes, this might be a little lacking, but I only expect their lists to get better.]
The site is still a little buggy. For example, using your back button in the browser can cause some playlist issues if you’re adding songs to different playlists, and there’s no seemingly intuitive way to go back to your previous selection. My second complaint is the lack of a “don’t play this song/artist” feature. Sorry, but I just don’t need to hear yet another U2 song. They do allow you to skip forward, however, just as long as you’re not going nuts on the forward feature.
And I wish they had more of The Format and Delerium.
Here’s my profile. If you check it out, let me know what you think.