Paul Riismandel suggested that I take 8tracks.com for a spin. I am enjoying it—a versatile playlist application that interfaces with at least half a dozen other social networking systems, including YouTube, SoundCloud, and Wikipedia. I get an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink feeling with 8tracks, which exemplifies the direction that many social networking music apps are moving towards—maximizing connectivity between users and with other applications.
Let us suppose that you are doing your math homework. Log into the 8tracks web app (there’s mobile, but best to start on your desktop), click “explore,” then select some of the tags offered, or type in your own. If you choose “math,” then add “homework” . . . voila! You get a user playlist (or “mix”) titled “Love & Mathematics.”
It’s the “perfect mix,” the creator says “for sitting at your desk doing math homework or making love with the lights off. For getting productive or reproductive.”
Feeling tough and hyper-competitive? I selected the tags “pregame” and “badass” and got a playlist titled “Leather and Beer,” very focused on the Arctic Monkeys.
You can make your own mix via 8tracks’ library. Or you can log into your SoundCloud account and add tunes from there. I’ve got an 8tracks playlist titled “La Belle Epoque,” dedicated to late-19th and early 20th-century classical composers. It has twelve “likes” so far, but that may only be because 8tracks mistakenly added it to its “Emo” music categories list.
In any event, once you’ve created a mix, you can share it via 8tracks interfaces. You can Facebook it, Google Plus it, Pinterest it, Tweet it, and embed it (as per the above right and below). You can play portions of your playlist on YouTube if the tune has a matching video. When tunes queue up, Wikipedia entries on performers and composers sometimes appear. You can create “collections” of mixes. You can comment on mixes.
There’s an iPhone version, an Android version, and a Windows mobile version. 8tracks is free. You can get it without ads, of course, but for $$$. Here’s another of my playlists: “Noir Music.” Enjoy!
We cover social music sharing communities every Monday in our Internet DJ feature.