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This Is How Apple And Spotify Should Improve Their Streaming Music Services

There are a lot of things Apple and Spotify can do to improve their streaming music services, but trying to encourage more discovery is the most salient.

The biggest “problem” with both Apple Music and Spotify remains discoverability. How do you take the world’s collection of music, and boil it down so that people don’t feel overwhelmed? After all, people are paying for 30 million+ songs, they want to move beyond just the handful of albums they listen to regularly.

Listen to more music

There’s curated playlists (think Spotify’s Discover Weekly) or dedicated radio (think Beats 1 internet radio station), but still, people need more help finding new music to listen to–especially in certain moments.

The answer is to continually let people know when artists they’ve liked in the past, do new things in the future. From there, you can branch people out to similar artists and bring in music around activities. First, though, you have to create the habit in people to want new music–and look for it.

If you’ve added an artist, album, or song to your library there’s a 99-percent chance you want to know when that artist puts out new music. This should be very obvious to everyone, but it’s not quite yet.

Apple does have this feature buried in the “For You” section of its music app, but it’s still limited. Record Bird is a good example of an app that already does this and do it really well too. Record Bird will let you know when artists you follow put out music videos, do interviews, or release new music.

Advanced options

Beyond some of those simpler items, it would be great to see more sophisticated algorithms as well. Keeping track of artists you’ve listened to more than once, but never included in your library. Or, artists your friends have listened to, which are similar to artists you do have in your library.

Once a streaming music service has covered all the items it can guarantee you’ll like, it can move on to more educated guesses about things it’s not sure about. Since streaming music services make their money from recurring revenue, it’s important to keep providing that recurring value to customers. Increasing discoverability is probably the easiest thing a service can do.

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The Top 6 Apps Every Music Lover Needs To Download

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Whether you’re a musician or just a lover of music, here are six apps that you can use to create music, move around playlists, or just keep track of bands you like, all on your phone.

Record Bird – never miss a new song

Record Bird lets you know anytime an artist you like puts out new music. How? The app scans your music library, your Spotify account, or another music service you use and then creates a personalized list of new music releases. Beyond new music, Record Bird can keep you informed when bands from your library do interviews, release new music videos, and even when they put out vinyl records.

Hum – capture those song ideas

Charlie Puth has been talking about his new album Voicenotes and how a lot of the songs started as little ideas he recorded on his phone to remember later. Hum is like the default Voice Memos app on iPhone, but designed with musicians in mind. You can tag entries with the song key, tempo, and add lyrics alongside the audio recording. Think of Hum as a digital napkin to capture those song ideas.

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Music Memos – record a demo on-the-go

Music Memos is similar to Hum, but more involved. Not only will the app record song ideas from, but it will analyze the music it hears to you the key the song is in, and can automatically add accompanying instrumentation based on the that key and tempo. Music Memos falls somewhere between Voice Memos being able to record audio, and Garageband which is a full recording studio app.

Songshift – transfer playlists between music services

Songshift helps cuts the chains of various music streaming services. If you want to try Apple Music, but have dozens of playlists already created in Spotify, for example, this app will help you move all those over to the new service.

The pro version of Songshift can also do some cool things like automatically keep playlists across different services in sync. That means that you could keep a YouTube music playlist updated whenever you add music to your Spotify playlist.

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Figure – play an instrument, even if you don’t know how

Figure will let anyone make music. Seriously, anyone. Whether you’ve never touched a musical instrument in you life, or not, you can use the Figure app. Figure features bass, percussion, and synth sounds which can all be mixed with each other. This is the type of app that could even be used in a band setting, playing along with other people. Match the key and everything you play will sound great.

You should try it; it’s super fun.

figure app

8Tracks – radio-like playlists for every occasion  

Pandora is fine, but it’s all automated by computers and the music choices it selects can get stale. 8Tracks music can solve that problem.

Instead of computer suggested songs, 8Tracks is playlists created exclusively by humans. Because of this, you’ll find a playlist and music for your situation. Want chill music for a rainy day to do homework to? You’ll probably find a radio-like playlist someone made for it. 8Tracks is a community of music lovers, making music more social than even Spotify.

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If you like music, be sure to check back each Friday for our Fresh Friday coverage of new music and movie releases each week.

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Fresh Friday: New Music From Selena Gomez, Ty Dolla $ign, Plus New Movies In Theaters

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Listen to this

Selena Gomez released a new song called “Back to You” which will be featured on the upcoming second season of the Netflix show, 13 Reasons Why.

Charlie Puth dazzles with his new album Voicenotes.

“New Light” is a surprise new song from John Mayer. Ty Dolla $ign released the album Beach House 3, not to be confused with the indie rock band Beach House which also put out a new album today called 7.

If that’s not enough, there’s also new music from pop singer Tove Styrke, rising alternative band Courtship., and crooner Ellie Schmidly–all of which are worth your time.

Movies now in theaters

Life of the party: Melissa McCarthy is in it, need you say more? Even if the movie is a dud, the larger-than-life actress typically provides enough value to justify a movie’s ticket price.

Breaking in: This film looks like an intense scene from a movie or TV show that got expanded into a whole movie. It appears to be trying gain favor with audiences by tapping into most people’s primal fears and instincts around home robberies. Hopefully there’s a little more depth than meets the eye in the trailer.

Other need-to-know things from the week

  • Spotify is removing R. Kelly’s music from its curated playlists because of repeat allegations of sexual abuse; and will presumably be doing this with more artists in the future.
  • Say goodbye to Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Fox decided to cancel the show after five seasons.
  • Early reviews and hype for the new Star Wars movie, Solo is strong. This should help fans breathe a little easier until they can see it for themselves in a few weeks.