As you can probably tell, I’m sort of a psycho when it comes to music. I also am quite addicted to web apps. Put the two together and I’m there.
Back during the original dot.com boom, while working at a start up myself, a group of us started using a streaming audio service called Echo.
Echo was a great service and I was really sorry to see it go. A small web client presented you with a shared listening experience as everyone listening to a station was hearing the same thing in real time. The Skip and Don’t Skip buttons made it interactive. Everyone voted and majority ruled.
Integrated also was a built in chat or IM type service – discuss the songs being played or, like us, bitch about our jobs.
Easy rating of songs made for a really enjoyable experience and a rewards program for listening or recruiting earned me some nice prizes.
I think Echo was just ahead of the curve. I recall a deal was announced that would have moved them into online sales but it never materialized and Echo was silenced soon after.
Fast forward to now and I have still yet to find something that works as well.
While I have always been a big fan of last.fm, the listening experience is less than social. I can see what others are listening to, I can listen to their stations, but the listening experience is still a solo venture. The community aspect is growing but it is limited to the web site and is independent of the actual listening experience.
Pandora is a great service as well and produces a great listening experience. Again though, I can share a station or listen to another user’s station, there is no interactivity or shared experience.
Enter Jango: "Personal radio that learns from your taste and connects you to others who like what you like…
As you listen, your player will show other people listening to the same artist. You can "tune in" to the songs they’re listening to, chat or share your music with friends."
That sounds intriguing.
So in theory Jango reminds me a bit of Echo. See what others are listening to and join in if you find it interesting.
But is that really happening? I have created a couple of stations and have listened in on some others. I have had no indication that others are listening to my station or that there are others on the stations I am on.
I see that someone named Jangissimo is listening to Tumbling Dice so I flip over there. The song starts from the beginning. Are we really listening to the same thing? I doubt it. I see I can skip songs and do – won’t that piss him off?
I return back to one of my stations. I hear Harvest Moon for the millionth time and quickly skip it. Next is the one XTC song they have in their catalog. Skipped. I find Ripple by The Dead – good enough.
So with a couple of days of Jango usage, I have to give it an overwhelming "meh" at least for now.
Song selection is limited, a ton of repeats no matter how many artists I add to a station or songs I rate. Oh – did I mention that all attempts to search for and add Gov’t Mule come back empty – that sure isn’t a good way to woo me. Also, the commenting system is threadless so responses seem one sided and nonsensical.
Ironically, one reason I am hesitant to really commit to it is the lack of last.fm scrobbling. I am so used to all the music I play on my PC hitting my charts that my Jango time is creating a musical void. I know they are technically competition, but it would be nice if they could add a plug in.
So I’m not giving up on Jango but I don’t feel quite as enthusiastic about it as I once did. They are still in private beta so I imagine that some of the loose ends will be cleaned up before launch and improvements made along the way.
I sure wish someone would just revive Echo though – I think the world is ready now.
BTW, I have some Jango invites so leave a comment and I’ll send one along to you.