I’m in the “Occupy Indie” room listening to a song from Bon Iver as I write this article about Myxer Social Radio, which launched a few weeks ago. Like other online radio applications, it is being offered in both a desktop and mobile version; I’ve tried both, and prefer the desktop version because it doesn’t lag as much or crash. I think that Myxer is not too bad, but there’s really nothing new or unique about it, because it is a hybrid between Pandora and Turntable.fm.
when you access such Myxer Services via your valid Facebook Single Sign-on account, we will also receive and store certain information from Facebook, Inc. (“Facebook”), including, but not limited to, your name, user name, profile picture, unique Facebook identifier, unique Facebook access token, gender, birthday and email address. In addition, we will receive information you have volunteered and/or added to your Facebook profile including, but not limited to, Hometown and your self-identified “Likes” for Music, Television, Movies, Books, Quotes, Activities and Interests.
Kind of scary if you ask me, since Pandora only takes in your e-mail—unless you decide to give it access to your Facebook.
Myxer lists a lot of different ways that it uses your personal information, but the two reasons I saw that got my attention is that it’s to engage “third parties to perform surveys measuring your experiences and use of the Myxer Services on behalf of Myxer [and] to share aggregated statistics, information and other materials with parties with whom we do business relating to your and others use of the Myxer Social Radio Service and other Myxer Services.”
Pandora generates listener statistics based on gender and age and location (zip code) and that seems to be fine, so I don’t understand why Myxer is collecting so much. I get a feeling the way it will work is that they take your information and share it with third parties so that the ads will be generated based off your listed interests on Facebook.
The song just finished, and now I’m the in “Pure Rock” room. The song is good, but I don’t feel the social aspect of it because there’s no one else in it. In the “Occupy Indie” room and most of the other featured rooms, there are under ten people listening in each. Right now it feels more like Pandora in that it is generating songs based on the genre. You can make your own rooms, where it will play songs based off the original style but it won’t be listed to the public, so others can’t access it unless they specifically make the same station as you; it’s a bit inconvenient in that sense.
Like Turntable.fm and Pandora, there’s a like or dislike button (in TT.fm the buttons say “lame” and “awesome”) which can influence whether or not the song gets skipped or not. When enough people dislike the song, it will get skipped. Since I’m alone in the room, I skipped a few just to test it out. There’s also a chat function, but I’ve been listening for the past several hours, and in the more populated room almost no one uses it; it just feels like I’m just using a slower Pandora.
While I listened, I noticed that songs tended to get skipped in the middle—even when I never pressed the dislike or the skip button, and that got a bit annoying. Other times, the song just wouldn’t load. This happened a lot when I used the android app, which tended to crash every two songs or so. I do, however, like that there weren’t ads interrupting after a few songs like Pandora—but that could be temporary since it just launched.
All in all, I don’t really see anything wrong with Myxer, but everything it offers has been done. I prefer Pandora for listening, simply because it’s simple—you search for an artist or band you like and it will play songs based on your taste with the occasional ads. If I want to be social and chat, I go with Turntable.fm because it’s unique in that it lets you DJ and people rate you up if they like what you share and you get to chat. All the rooms created are listed publicly too, but if you want to share the room with just friends, you can make it private. It’s basically a better Myxer radio. I know it isn’t fair to brush Myxer radio aside, because it’s fairly new, but I feel that it will be super hard for it to compete with the other two if it cannot come up with something that would attract more people.
At the moment, you do have the option of controlling whether or not you want to publish your listening activities to Facebook (it’s on the top left corner), but that’s it; Myxer will take your information as soon as you log in through Facebook, and if you “do not consent to such use of your personal data, you should immediately discontinue use of the Myxer Social Radio Websites, the Myxer Social Radio Service and any other Myxer Services. Myxer does not have the capacity to toggle any individual disclosure discussed above.”
I definitely hope users will have the option to sign up through Myxer and login using their email or username instead of being limited to only Facebook, because Myxer says it’s only collecting information to personalize our listening experience and get statistics; it doesn’t need my pictures, what I like to read, or do. I’m only listening.
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