Monday, February 23, 2009

Collaborative Playlists via Twitter and Hashtags

Collaborative playlists are a great idea that often gets bogged down and limited by the fact that everyone has their own music service/platform of choice and there is generally no interoperability between them. Fred Wilson blogged on the topic, and the challenges, about a week ago. The problem is that most collaborative playlisting options require a lot of overhead... either everyone needs to join/use/switch to the same playlisting site or the creator of the playlist has to engage in a lot of manual labor to curate the playlist.

I talked a bit recently about how some service are already set up to handle the exact use cases that people are interested in, just that the other pieces of the puzzle haven't been put in place yet. By using the "web as the music catalog", listening data as automated search queries and free-range MP3s as the universally supported format, it is actually easy to create collaborative playlists with a combination of existing technologies that can all work on a common platform. Hashtags, Twitter Search (aka Summize), friendP3 and playTwitter.

To create a collaborative playlist, one just needs to manually post (or retweet a friendP3/meP3 link) with a playlist name as a hashtag. For example, I just started one with the name of #fp3Bestof2009 (where "fp3" stands for "friendP3"). I posted a couple of songs, and others can as well without any overhead required by me to manage. To see the collaborative playlist, I can use Twitter Search to search for that hashtag/playlist name.

Click on the playTwitter bookmarklet and you are off and listening to the community programmed list that continues to be dynamic over time. If you want to filter the playlist, you can simply use the "advanced search" fields of Twitter Search and you can limit posts/songs by contributor, date, keywords, and more. Find a filter you like, and then you could subscribe to the RSS feed for those filters and just watch what continues to come in from users across the web.

User friendly? Uh... nope, not yet. Powerful? I think so. What do you guys think?

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Zprocket said...
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zprocket said...

Very powerful. Seems like someone could create a basic UI to enter your Twitter login info, the MP3 URL, artist, song name and select/type the playlist name, and it would construct and post the Twitter entry in Lucas's "playTwitter" format with the #hashtag playlist name. In fact, it could even "find" the free range MP3 using something like Seeqpod given enough info.

It could also allow you to enter/select a #hashtag playlist to view and play.

Only drawback to this is that it takes you out of the Twitter experience, which is what makes this collaborative playlist so powerful.

...I'm still looking for the hot #hashtags/words in twitter. Would love to be able to click on a playlist name in Twitter and have it filter on what I click so I can instantly see all the tweets featuring that word or playlist.

Mike said...

@zprocket is exactly what you described:)

J said... is a nice. I prefer it to in that lets you play directly where you are instead of trying to siphon traffic and usage away from Twitter. There are a bunch of others also doing the search/post links to songs too, but what I think is missing in most is the passive programming piece... which is where I've been spending most of my time. It would be cool to see some of the passive programming elements combined with the search/destroy paradigm.

zprocket said...

I like It would also be great to have something expanded that enables collaboration/playlisting directly from the UI and with post to Twitter. I can add playlist name to's tweet once it's in Twitter, but it's an extra step.

B. Stoner said...

great thoughts. I agree that the power of twitter as a music discovery engine will really begin to be realized in the next year or so.

I created as an experiment to do just this.

But I like where you're going with collaborative playlists where people could directly add songs to specific playlists. If there's any interest in collaborating in the future let me know.

J said...

B. Stoner -

Thanks. Yeah, I was playing around with your site the other day too. Some good stuff in there. Glad to see so many likeminded people out there trying to tackle this. Would love to talk about ideas sometime.