Tuesday, January 23, 2007

MyStrands Makeover

So, when I wasn't looking MyStrands rolled out some new features, new UI and new integrations. High-level, the new stuff includes:

  • More Mobile Support - Symbian client, Windows Mobile Client, mobile web interface
  • New embeddable flash charts
  • Indie radio - basically a Pandora knock-off (at least in terms of UI), but only featuring indie music
  • Napster integration - giving users 2.5 million commercial full-length songs to listen to for free (based on Napster's three-play model - stream any song 3 times for free)
  • New taskbar - this appears to replace the "sidecar" interface for WMP, Winamp and iTunes
  • PartyStrands - send text messages and pictures, vote on songs and much more, all from your mobile phones. The partyStrands Host Display allows you to choose the music for your personal party, join your friends, add pictures to show to your friends and start music and custom votes to keep your friends interacting and entertained. You can also switch from Auto DJ, where your friends choose and influence the music, to Manual DJ, where partyStrands will play music from your playlists in your favorite music players.

I haven't been able to try all the new stuff out yet, but I think MyStrands does many things better than Last.fm. Where they fell behind (IMO) was in not offering an audio consumption experience (e.g. radio).... Last.fm built out a consumer destination that build an audience and created habitual usage. Conversely, MyStrands seems more focused on building out the technology, patent portfolio and capabilities and pursued a B2B licensing model.

As I recommend to anyone playing with MyStrands, check out their "Labs" stuff - this is where some of the real interesting stuff resides (including Rhapsody and Last.fm mashups and some very nice data visualizations).

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