I’m starting this post at 5:59pm EDT (7:59am my time). Which means I made it. A kick-ass music app in 20 days. Here she is: http://bit.ly/qc54Hx
And now to bed.
So after racing frantically to finish today, The Echo Nest have announced that they’re postponing the deadline for the contest for a month. To be honest, I’m a little disappointed. I was in crazy hackathon mode, locked in my room, writing all sorts of code that should never see the light of day. Now I have time to do things like go outside. And eat.
But regardless of this development, I’m sticking to my guns. A kick-ass music app in 20 days. At some point before 6pm EDT (probably a few minutes before), I’ll be unveiling the latest version of Swarm.fm and +Music. I’ll chuck it up on hacker news, tweet it to Techcrunch and just sit back and relax. That’s how it works right?
So it turns out that beyond the San Francisco tech scene, not everyone uses Chrome (or even knows what it is). It’s turning out to be a thorn in my side. I’ve been pitching it so often that I’m starting to think Google should be paying me to do this. I dare say a decent chunk of people have starting using Chrome just to try cool extensions like ex.fm. I know I did.
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could share what you were listening to with friends, and they could actually listen to the track without leaving their news feed. Yes, yes it would. And that’s what I added today. The player now features more details about the track you’re listening to
and if you hit share, you can recommend the track to friends
add a message if you want and the track gets posted to your wall
it is now fully streamable, even for friends without the app
Note that none of this requires you to authenticate an app. This is because I create an Open Graph page for every track and use standard ‘Like’ buttons for sharing. At the moment these pages look pretty bland
so i’ll need to tidy them up before release (in approx 30 hours). should be beautiful by this time tomorrow!
My original plan was to build a music hub (swarm.fm), that turned your Facebook friends and their ‘Likes’ into a fully streamable music collection. Part of this experience would be a chrome extension, that provided the music playback, and went with you anywhere on the web. That extension, now known as +Music, evolved to become far bigger (and cooler) than I imagined. So with two days left in the race to build a kick-ass music app, do I rush to build swarm.fm with limited features, or do I make +Music the focus and polish it up for submission?
Last night I played around with some of the features for Swarm, and came to the conclusion that two days simply isn’t enough. I still plan to build it, no doubt, but for the purpose of this contest, I’m just going to make sure that +Music is rock solid.
Here’s what’s in the pipeline:
- Improved Rdio search results
- Scanning large bodies of text (ie the whole page) and mixing the artists found
- Auto complete artist names
- Keyboard shortcuts
- Tidy up presentation / landing pages
- Attribution and click-though to the blogs where MP3s are sourced
- Artist details / links to profiles
- Share / Send tracks from the extension
- Better caching / scale-proofing
- Release in the Chrome Extension Gallery
As you’ll probably agree, there’s some important tasks in there! So in mourning the short-term loss of Swarm, we can celebrate that +Music is going to really kick ass.
Also, I took some of the testing I did for Swarm around scanning friends and their likes and build a little demo. It literally dumps everything on one page (friends in blue, bands in red). Obviously you wouldn’t do this in a real app (there’s over 5000 images on the page!), but it goes to show the depth of music connections available. If only there was a way to listen to all these bands!
If you want, you can see the page for yourself here. Be warned, it WILL take forever to load / may crash your browser. And apologies to my friends for broadcasting your music tastes. That’s what you get for adding me!
I’ve put out the latest version of +Music for Google Chrome. More details at http://swarm.fm/+music/
Note to self: test on Windows BEFORE releasing :)
I had hoped to release another beta of the extension today, but alas, I was thwarted by various bugs and hurdles. I will say though, it’s almost there and looking mighty fine. Here’s a look at the new composer, which now let’s you post an mp3, rdio stream or youtube video to your Facebook Wall.
I hit a brick wall trying to post mp3’s to a Facebook wall, but it looks like I finally made it through. And just in time. I was making so many posts on my test account that Facebook started showing me Captchas. Take a look at the post below and try to tell me this is spam:
I just realised that the +Music chrome extension will scrobble, and I didn’t have to write a single line of code! Rdio keeps track of songs you listen to via the API, and seeing as I have my Last.fm account connected, it scrobbles automatically. Too easy!
I’ve picked a name for the chrome extension. It will be called ‘+Music’. And here’s the logo I’ll be starting with:
Obviously it bears some similarity to Google’s latest offering, but that’s not why it was named. It fits perfectly with the spirit of the app, which is ‘adding music to the websites you visit’. So instead of Facebook, you have Facebook + Music. Or Pitchfork + Music. You get the idea.
I also realise that there may be some confusion around apps and extensions and various names, so let me set it straight. I am building two related products:
swarm.fm: a hub for listening to music that you and your friends like (which I still haven’t started!)
+Music: a chrome extension for adding music to the websites you visit
They will be heavily integrated and use much of the same technology, which I why I consider them to be a single ‘app’. But who knows, this could change based on the feedback I get (and if I manage to build swarm.fm in time!)