11/01/13: Spotify partners with Tango for music sharing

Brad Hill
November 3, 2013 - 11:35am

Spotify, which arguably has the most vigorous social environment of the interactive music services, is pushing social sharing outside of its apps, via a new partnership with Tango Messenger.

Tango is a stand-alone message, game and communications service. Members can interact with texts, lightweight games, animations, and now 30-second music clips supplied by Spotify. The business play is to hook new users into the Spotify music-and-app ecosystem. To hear the full track of a clip, Tango throws the user into the Spotify app -- which of course must be downloaded if the user doesn’t already have it.

A quick test of the latest Tango update in Android revealed the music-sharing piece in place and functioning perfectly.

Tango is a four-year-old company with current funding of $85-million. The service has 150-million registered users as of September, and a reported 60-million active monthly users. Spotify has 24-million global actives and six-million paid subscribers.

Brad Hill
November 3, 2013 - 11:35am

We noticed that iHeartRadio put an updated version of its Android app in the Google Play, and were glad to see it brought the Android experience to parity with the Apple app. Trying it out, we see two notable additions.

Unadvertised in the app stores, but added in both the Android and iOS apps, is the “Perfect for” section, which adopts concierge-style programming currently in vogue. Pioneered by Songza’s “life moments” organization of playlists, and later more-or-less copied by Slacker, concierge-style presentation makes it easy for the listener to lean forward briefly, identify a mood, activity, or time of day, then lean back for the curated music experience.

Clearly, iHeart programmers had the RAIN editorial office in mind when packaging this section, as the first choice is Drinking Coffee. Drilling into that selection amusingly yields layers of musical caffeination: Shot of Caffeine, Extra Sugar, Third Cup Jitters, and Espresso Energy. Each is a package of stations. The selections feature a mix of live stations and curated playlists. (One of the streams is co-branded with Dunkin Donuts.) Other “Perfect for” categories are likewise expanded with a tongue-in-cheek wink (e.g. Downward Dog Days in the Yoga group).

iHeart is bragging about another new usability feature: a big plus sign (+) that offers one-touch addition of any programming element onto your Favorites page. That’s good, but not prevalent enough. In our testing, we saw the plus sign only on the Now Playing screen. We found that limitation frustrating when combing through the service adding stations; many times we wanted to fling a station into Favorites for later, without having to boot it up first. Especially when listening to one of the Espresso Energy stations.

Brad Hill
November 3, 2013 - 11:35am

Rough night last night? Too much fake blood and unholy reveling? Today’s pureplay, 100 Chill, lands on the easy-listening side of Lounge Chill. Inoccuous Andean flutes burble through smooth-jazzy electronics. This is hangover-friendly music, also effective for bringing you down gently from sugar overdose.

We’ve been gently swaying to Club Des Belugas, Blue Wave, Lisa Maroni, Paul Hardcastle and other soothing sonic wallpaper acts. Re-capture your energies for the upcoming weekend.

100 Chill is a Radionomy station. From its page (go here), you can back into the general Radionomy station directory, which, if you haven’t tried it yet, might surprise you with its depth and range. 

Brad Hill
November 3, 2013 - 11:35am

Here are the top five, most-read article this week, published at any time.

Dave Allen blog-debates David Byrne about Spotify (10/21): Continued interest in Spotify verbal wars puts the longest-running of this weeks Hotspots in the top position. [READ]

Edison Research documents the “barrage of new” (10/28): RAIN talked with Larry Rosin, head of Edison Research, about the company’s recently released video interviews of new-car buyers struggling to understand their digital music systems. Where does radio fit in? [READ

Survey and Interview: iTunes Radio little threat to Pandora (10/29): RAIN spoke with the author of a survey studying the experiences and intentions of iTunes Radio users who also use Pandora. Is there room for both services? [READ

REVIEW: New Rhapsody features in Android (10/30): An important update to Rhapsody’s Android experience offers sound equalization and backskipping in Radio mode. How do these features stack up? [READ

Microsoft’s new Web Playlist dismantles traditional “station” listening (10/22): RAIN readers show persistent interest in Microsoft’s Xbox Music feature which can turn text-only websites into music playlists. [READ