Unless you’ve been stuck in a cave with a record-player for the last five years you’ll have noticed that the way people listen to music has changed a little bit of late. The rise of P2P and MP3 download sites on the Internet has meant that we no longer need to wade through the CD racks of the local record store to get hold of the music we want. What’s more, with the emergence of Web 2.0 technologies, things are getting even better for music fans, and Mobster delivers a decent appetizer for the delights we can expect in the near future.
Mobster is the desktop client for Musicmobs, a Web 2.0 service which allows users to share their iTunes playlists online. At first you wonder whether there’s really much of a market for this kind of service, but the application is so well executed that you start to question how you ever did without out it. If you’ve ever had one of those days when you feel bored of all the songs on your PC or iPod then Mobster could be your saviour.
Using the program is as simple as double-clicking on the name of an artist within your music library in the Mobster interface. You’ll then be presented with a list of related acts, along with details of any tunes already on your machine that are of a similar ilk. For those artists whose works you don’t have on your machine you can click on the name to be directed straight to the artist’s page in the iTunes store, where you can pick up tracks or albums from that artist.
Probably even better than this feature is the ‘Recommended Playlists’ tab, which gives you access to playlists of users who listen to similar music to you, making it ideal for building up a picture of what like-minded beat freaks are getting down to these days. Unfortunately the tracks in these playlists are not available for streaming but again you’re ushered fairly quickly to the right place in the iTunes store where you can fill your boots. You can return the favour as well by publishing your own playlists online through the simple interface, which comes with the capability to add tags and detailed descriptions to each playlist you upload, making it easier for other users to find what they’re after.
Musicmobs is certainly an interesting concept, although as far as we’re concerned it isn’t really the finished article. Searching is still a little slow and if you’re sitting behind a proxy firewall then there’s no point bothering trying to get the app to work. It also lacks the draw of other Web 2.0 music services such as the Last FM Player, which actually let you listen to music over the Net, as well as providing recommendations. Having said this, Mobster is great for expanding your music collection and discovering hot new acts.