FM disc jockeys once ruled the roost. (And shit, before that it was AM jockeys. Dating myself, I recall an FM station promotion that had contestants send in Polaroids of running over AM radios with your car to kill AM and help popularize the “new” FM!) Then, it was the VJs (Video Jockeys) that set the trend. And it wasn’t just MTV either: There were over the air stations, like Boston’s V66, that set the world on fire. Since then, many different influencers have had an impact on what music people listen to. While there has been scores of things that come and go in popularity, like satellite radio, computerized algorithms a la Pandora, blogs, magazines, websites and tons of other pundits that think they dictate musical tastes, one thing has remained constant: Recommendations from friends.
One thing that will never change when it comes to trusted musical recommendations are those that come from friends and valued sources. Such was the absolute explosion of Turntable.FM. It resonated because you could listen to the DJs (many of whom you knew) whose opinion you valued. However, the initial explosion of interest was tempered with the fact that the time/value proposition was becoming less and less valuable as the service become more popular and the “suggestions” were diluted.
What if you could cherry pick the best of the best? The one tune that your friends and people in your trusted circle were listening to right now? Well, you can. This is the idea of “This Is My Jam“.
What is It? You know how you often have one tune stuck in your head? And it plays over and over? And it is awesome? And you want to share it with the world? This is the idea behind This Is My Jam. The site allows you to pick just one song, or “jam.” They encourage you to pick the one “that’s been stuck on repeat, that one you love.” Then you can add a bit of personalization in how it is displayed and then you share it.
What makes this service so compelling? For me, it is the utter simplicity and lack of clutter. I can quickly drill down and get some spot-on suggestions of some tunes that are thrilling people right now. Unlike Simplify Media of old that allowed you to listen to the entirety of a friend’s library, or Spotify playlists that can reach hundreds of tracks per playlist, or dozens of wall posts on Facebook, or culling through someone’s Twitter timeline hoping to find the gem that was shared earlier, TIMJ pares the recommendation game down to its bare essence: What’s your favorite track right now?
How does it work? Simply sign up, search for friends that you want to follow via Twitter or Facebook, and find a tune that you want to share. Then, with one click, you can “Play All the Jams From People You Follow.” It’s like a Twitter timeline with just kick-ass music suggestions. The music is mostly curated from YouTube and during playback a small, unobtrusive window displays the video. You can, of course, pick and choose what you want to listen to, and cherry pick which tracks to listen to without going through the entire playlist.
After seven days, your jam is dead! No stale jams here. So you can either pick a fresh jam to share or you will not be sharing anything after seven days. Dead simple way of keeping the music relevant and timely.
Other things to know about TIMJ:
> Besides the clutter-free, streamlined, and fresh approach to music suggestions, one of the compelling things about the service right now is that there are no ads! Simple & clean interface that makes listening online a joy.
> Like most things you do online, when posting your Jam, you can Tweet it or post it to Facebook as well. Commenting on the tracks, adding favorites, “liking” and playcounts are all supported.
> There is no software to download of course, it works right in the browser and is run with HTML5 so iOS users can fortunately join in the fun on iPads and such.
> Even though you are limited to one tune at a time that expires after seven days, you are free to change your Jam as often as you wish.
Bottom Line: The age old question of music recommendation is an always evolving and interesting one. This is My Jam is a dead simple, elegant, and fresh solution to curating a playlist of what your friends are listening to right now. I’ve only been using this for less than a week and have already found some great tracks that I’ve added to my library. Perhaps you will find some killer music too!
This is my jam. What’s yours?
[Stay tuned for next week's installment of Technology Tuesday for another kick-ass music recommendation service that centers around bands rather than tracks!]
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