a thoughtful web.
Good ideas and conversation. No ads, no tracking.   Login or Take a Tour!
comment by ecib
ecib  ·  3502 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Presto.fm - a music streaming service to find niche artists that just works  ·  
First of all, congratulations on launching your site.

Second, let me compliment you on the layout. It's slick. I think it's fairly innovative too, at least for the text input. I like beginning to type, and having a band auto-populate, then being able to just continue typing a new string in the same input box without having to perform extra mouse clicks or insert unintuitive punctuation (commas, etc) to separate the selections.

I tried it on Safari on OSX and mobile safari on iOS. Unlike OSX, when I selected my bands and hit [Play] in iOS, the music/video does not play. It takes you to the music launch page with the 'Now Playing' Band Bio, but you must then locate the video, and look for Youtube's on-screen play button, then select that. Only then will the station start. Both OSes played the station continuously once it started.

That being said, there are, imo, currently 3 major types of online music streaming services:

1)Pandora Style - Sites like Pandora, Slacker, and others, let you type in a band, or song, or some other input, and it generates a playlist and builds a station of songs and artist based upon your input.

2)Spotify Style - All you can eat buffet. Spotify lets you type in an artist, album, or band, and it pulls up every song in its catalog for you. You then take those songs that you go out and find, and create a playlist that you can listen to. Spotify boast a vastly larger catalog than Pandora, but you have to do the work of putting your playlists together. I'm not going to get into the social sharing elements, but it is worth noting that Spotify has an open API that has let outside developers create an app that taps Spotify's larger catalog, and mimics Pandora, building you an instant radio station based on their catalog and your existing playlists.

3)Songza Style - A relatively new service, Songza occupies a space in between Pandora and Spotify. Songza knows what time of day it is when you open the site or the app, and based off the time of day, it presents you with curated mixes that are on-theme based on the time of day. Right now it's Friday night, so I open Songza and my choices are 'A Sweaty Dance Party', 'Pre-gaming with friends', 'Unwinding After a Long Week', 'Love and Romance', and 'Bedtime'. Whichever I choose, it will then break my station options into genres like Electronic, Indie, Acoustic, etc. Basically, it creates a mix for you, but unlike Pandora, the songs always stay "on mood" and you don't have resort to taking forever to make a mix that stays on mood with Spotify (or your own music collection for that matter). This service is truly fills a role you probably didn't realize you needed filled before you used it. The tracks are also curated by the service, and it shows. I have found that they play a lot more of what might be considered 'deep cuts' than other services, -great songs that don't get played on Pandora because the algorithm is too busy playing the most popular cuts from that artist.

For me, Presto falls squarely in the 'Pandora Style' camp. You tell it what you like, and it gives you a station built around that. I haven't used it enough yet, but what would make it or break it for me is a)the size of the catalog compared to competitors like Pandora, and b)the tracks it chooses to present to me from within that catalog. I personally find Pandora repetitive and awfully stale. I have a feeling that if Presto pulls from Youtube, then it's already got a leg up, as Youtube has much more eclectic content that what Pandora has licensed from the labels.

The band biography info is fantastic, but let's be honest, if you are building a music streaming app/site nowadays, this feature is expected.

Can I say I tell you that I like the font you use on your site? I like the font on your site.

Finally, the question, "Will I adopt Presto?"

Hard to say. For me, it seems to have the potential to be much better than a service I don't, unfortunately, use (Pandora style). For me, having a Spotify is giving me any song/album/artist I want, as much as I want, and Songza is creating the effortless, "on mood" station when I'm not picky.

Also, not having iOS/OSX Airplay feature means I'm probably going to just pull out the phone in my pocket and open Spotify or Songza and stream wirelessly to my stereo speakers, instead of going to get my laptop, powering it it up, and playing out of the crappy laptop speakers.

But I'm going to keep using it for sure. I am really curious to see what kind of serendipity it can deliver to me. If it presents me with new music that I love, the I'll be back for sure.

Overall, it looks great though :)

Edit: The Youtube window in Presto contains Youtube's iOS integrated 'Airplay' button. I think I will be using this service a lot more now. Cool.

EDIT 2: So I was listening to my station 'Nick Cave & The Bad Seed + Leonard Cohen' and it was playing a nice eclectic mix, and I was very impressed. Then this happened:


My band bio tells me I'm listening to Ohio by Neil Young, and it gives me a bunch of info about Neil. But that is not what is playing. What is playing isn't music, but some chieften pawing his guitar and babbling about how he will teach me how to play a sweet solo to Neil Young's song.

Not so good. I have a feeling this may happen a bit if you're drawing your material from Youtube due to the sheer amount of covers, but I'm hoping not too much. Well, I'm just going to consider this Presto's version of commercials. I have to listen to stuff I don't want to on other apps, so I no exemption here I guess :) But it's bad that it's trying to tell me this chief is Neil Young.

To mitigate this, (if this is something that your algorithm can't reliably handle), you might want to make the 'next' buttons (along with the other media button 'previous' and 'pause') MUCH more prominent in the UI.

codeine  ·  3502 days ago  ·  link  ·  
Wow, thanks for the well thought-out feedback. We've had a great time building and designing Presto, so it's great to hear such a positive response, especially regarding the user interface. We are also working on improved mobile and tablet support (for both Android and iOS), so please do check back to see how we're progressing.

YouTube has a vast and truly amazing catalogue of music and we're working intently on our algorithms and interfaces to bring that music to listeners in a unique way. Presto.fm definitely does have aspects that are similar to the Pandora-style of music service, although our catalogue of music is quite a bit larger and we do have some unique features all our own (and some that are more similar to Spotify & Songza).

Thanks again for you feedback, and happy listening!

p.s. The great thing about YouTube is that anyone can publish content, but it does mean that occasionally the wrong video sneaks into a playlist. Sometimes it's a serendipitous discovery of a new artist covering an old favourite...and sometimes it isn't.

We aim to make it a very rare occurence for Presto to interrupt your playlist with an incorrectly labelled track and Presto has quite a few filters in place to exclude them. We're always fine-tuning the algorithms to improve them, so let us know how we go!

ecib  ·  3502 days ago  ·  link  ·  
Cool. Also, have you noticed in testing on iOS that the station stops continuously playing and you have to manually hit the 'Play' button on in the Youtube window? I'm getting some of that. Maybe it's my network though.

Also, under your 'About' tab hidden at the bottom you have a typo:

>We're Australian based so that usually means even when international music services let us listen they don't have they local or niche artists that we want to hear.

Again, you guys did a great job so far.

fr33lunch  ·  3484 days ago  ·  link  ·  
That deserves a badge.
ecib  ·  3482 days ago  ·  link  ·  
Thanks! :D