Saturday, 25 August 2007

Let this musical map take you on a journey of discovery!

Image:Musicovery bannerMusicovery (music discovery?) has been described by some as "interactive web radio".
If you click along to you will be presented with a very simple page that simply comprises of the Musicovery flash based player/interface.

Now comes the fun part where you can tweak the 'radio' to the sort of music you want to hear. You can choose a genre (Rock, Pop, Metal, Funk etc.) or keep 'All Genres' ticked. You can specify which decade you wish to stay within or click 'All'. There are also three tick boxes labelled: Hit, Non-Hit or Discovery. You can have either or all ticked.
The main feature/selling point for Musicovery though, I think, is it's graphical interface method of choosing/finding music. As mentioned you can choose by genre but you can also choose by mood.

The player has a graphical mood 'matrix' display. Which is somewhat like a mood compass. With Energetic being North, opposite Calm being the South. While Dark is in the West opposite Positive in the East.
These axes are progressive. So the further you go in any one direction the more the music will cater for that mood. So clicking somewhere in an extreme North-westerly direction will play you very Dark and Energetic music while South-westerly you should hear some Dark but Calm tunes.
You can also use this matrix within one specific genre. For instance, I prefer to have Discovery ticked with Hit and Non-Hit left unticked. I click 70's on the decade bar. Then I untick the 'All Genres' box and click on Funk and then somewhere in the middle of the Dark section. Theoretically this should get me some grimy 70's funk but so far the results seem a little hit and miss. But close enough.

Once you've made your selection, watch the rest of the space on the page come alive with a sprawling map of tunes branching out in different directions, no too dissimilar from a train map. With different tunes as stops and junctions onto different genres displayed as different colours like the different train lines.
And, if you really like a particular tune that is playing, Amazon, Itunes and Ebay each have direct linking icons displayed on each track making it easy for you to purchase. Making Musicovery a try-before-you-buy tool if you like.

The only criticisms I have heard about Musicovery are to do with how some artists have been categorised. But if you're not too strict towards what criteria have to be met to allow certain tracks or artists into your genre then it shouldn't bother you too much. And you can't really complain as it is totally free (in Lo-Fi mode). Although, alternatively, there is a paid for version (Hi-Fi mode) for better sound quality.

I feel the best way to use Musicovery is how it's name suggests: Use it to discover tunes you've heard before. Leave Hit and Non-Hit unticked and have only Discovery ticked. Pick four or five genres. Let it rip and leave it playing in the background while reading some interesting site like - well...I dunno...erm; Weird Wonderful Web.

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