March 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm

SXSW: Herd.fm, Great in Theory, Drops Hipster Dance Tracks Around Town

herd.fm lets you drop songs around townHerd.fm, a finalist in SXSW’s Microsoft Bizspark Accelerator contest, has the potential to be a killer app. At first glance, it seems great –- a way to search for music happening in a neighborhood, listen to the tracks, and build a playlist. For people living in areas with a wealth of live music venues, or travelers who just want to check out a local show and discover something new while they’re in town, an app like that would be perfect – a helpful discovery platform for vetting bands before dropping cash on the entry fee.

Unfortunately, Herd.fm (free in iTunes) doesn’t do that, or anything remotely close, or anything remotely… useful. The app is still in its infancy, but the concept seems strange. Users can “drop” a track at a location, but it’s not immediately clear whether they can upload their own tracks — and they can’t. The list of tracks within the app is small, and limited mostly to hipster dance songs. We dropped a random track at a local bar, but it’s not clear what anyone else using the app is supposed to get out of this, particularly because so few tracks are available.

Herd.fm still clearly has a way to go. So far, the limited functionality hampers its usefulness. The app is designed well, and the introductory video is helpful, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that the concept isn’t quite there yet. With a few pivots, Herd.fm could be a must have for music fans; right now, it just seems half-baked and underpopulated.