Music WithMe, which makes a helper app for Mac and Windows that can sync music from iTunes onto Android smartphones wirelessly, has upgraded its Android app to make music listening a more social experience, the company announced on Wednesday at the SXSW Music conference. Regardless of which media player you use to play music on your Android, Music WithMe allows you to share a preview with friends on a wide range of social networks.
“When we were growing up, I’d tape stuff off the radio and make mix tapes [to give out], and that’s how we did it,” Music WithMe co-CEO Terry Goertz told Evolver.fm. “As music went to digital, it became a lot less portable. It became very hard to legitimately share music, and that’s just not how we behave as humans. Music’s a social experience — and SXSW is a case in point.”
Of course, there is already one incredibly popular way to share music “legitimately” on Facebook or any other social network: YouTube. The last time we covered Music WithMe, we determined that it compared unfavorably with YouTube as a Facebook music sharing app because it offered only 30-second track previews, whereas YouTube lets you pop a whole song — with video, no less — into your feed.
Music WithMe now includes full-track playback from songs from one label, Sonablast, and hopes to add more labels, which would resolve our complaint about the 30-second samples. So for now, YouTube is still a more effective sharing option when seated at a computer.
But when you’re listening to music on an Android phone, Music WithMe now has a key advantage: The new Music WithMe Android app allows you to share previews of locally-stored songs playing on any Android media player on a variety of social networks. Meanwhile, you can only share a YouTube song from your phone if you’re listening to it within YouTube — and even then, email is the only sharing option.
“It’s all being done from the point of where you’re listening to music,” said Music WithMe co-CEO Jeff Fedor, demonstrating the app to Evolver.fm. “As I’m listening to a song right now on my phone, it doesn’t matter what the media player is, there’s a little notification window up here [at the top of the screen], and it says ‘tap to share,’ and I can share it just like that.”
This feature only works for the music stored on your phone, as opposed to songs being streamed from Pandora, Slacker, or other streaming apps. However, it does reduce the friction to sharing music from an Android phone.
“Apple and iTunes have done a lot to change the music industry [including making it] frictionless to purchase songs,” said Goertz. “What’s missing is to be able to go from having your music and listening to it to sharing it and have somebody else be able to listen to it, preview it, and purchase it.”
Here’s how it works. First, you can check the activity stream of songs you’ve recently downloaded or played:
Tapping the green share icon brings up some sharing options (you can also access this through the notifier mentioned above):
In this example, Twitter is the sharing network of choice: