If you’re reading this blog, you probably already know about last.fm and pandora.com. Soundflavor borrows a little from each but adds in some interesting extras, beginning with the home page.
Start browsing by entering an artist or song, or browse by genre, lyrics, decade or free downloads. I started with Rock, narrowed it down to Indie Rock, then set “Flavor Filters” (parameters) of Mellow and Medium Slow. My results included songs by Modest Mouse, Blur, Cake, Beck, Gomez, Belle & Sebastian, Spoon and a host of others, including some I’ve never heard before. If you click “one-click” next to any of the results, you’ll get a new list that closely resembles the sound of that artist/song. If you click on any of the songs, you’ll see a listing of other videos, and some of the “Flavors” associated with that song – useful for future searches. Similarly, click on the artist name and get more videos by them and the “Artist Flavors.” Hit the “Play This Page” button and a small pop-out window appears where videos of the songs play from the generated playlist in a small widget that you can also embed on your blog or website.
The videos are all from YouTube and, as such, you get a mixed bag. You’ll find the real videos from the artists, but you might also find some recordings from Conan O’Brien or other live recordings – not a bad thing, in my opinion. That said, everything I saw (with few exceptions) was of a very high quality, unlike many other sites out there. On the down side, the volume from one video to the next would sometimes change. You can choose to skip the ones you don’t like.
Search by lyrics by choosing from emotions, such as loneliness. My search for Loneliness and a genre of Blues included Clapton, Elmore James, Muddy Waters and … Indigo Girls. Too bad there’s not a sub-genre of “my baby left me and took the dog too,” but hey, nobody’s perfect.
One of my favorite search options is by decade. I chose 1970s with Flavor Filters of “Folk” and “Contemporary” and got a list with James Taylor, Kansas, Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan and Neil Young.
A really cool feature of Soundflavor lets you upload any of your iTunes playlists, then get back a corresponding video playlist.
Finally, like most sites these days, there are social features. You can build a profile (where you can alter and save playlists), search for and make friends and share playlists.
After using Soundflavor, I have to say it’s fun. I think it’s a good tool for music discovery – there’s seemingly no end to the filters and options. But I’m still partial to Pandora, for no other reason than it’s ease-of-use. I can open my browser and start listening without a click. If I get bored, a couple clicks starts a new station and I’m back to doing other things. But if you have the time and feel like exploring, Soundflavor delivers the goods.
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