November 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Spartify Lets Partiers DJ Together, Free, from Any Smartphone

I can’t remember the last party I attended without music piped in from a laptop. There’s usually a Grooveshark playlist open, or maybe fifteen browser tabs worth of YouTube videos queued up.

Some are more interested in playing DJ for the night than in dancing or otherwise enjoying themselves. The more bullish honor no requests — so intent are they on showing off their unique taste at the expense of anyone else’s.

This is a problem that needs solving.

Spartify, created by Adreas Blixt and Ricardo Vice Santos at Music Hack Day Boston, hopes to do so. This web app’s clean interface lets a party host start a playlist and give an access code to guests at the party, who can then access Spartify from mobile devices, searching for songs to add to the queue and “plus-one-ing” each other’s choices to move them up the queue.

An interesting logo, to say the least

In case the requests stop flowing, Spartify figures out similar songs to play, so that the music doesn’t stop even if the requests do (using data from The Echo Nest, publisher of Evolver.fm). All of this requires that Spotify be installed in order to work — preferably the premium version, to avoid ruining the vibe with audio ads.

I informally tested the app, creating a party on my laptop and using an iPhone and a Blackberry to add songs, over both 3G and WiFi (you can also add songs on another computer).

The site was a little sluggish over 3G, but other than that it added songs instantly with very little fuss. The developers were wise to run Spartify as a mobile web app rather than creating anything platform-specific. This way, as long as guests have a phone with internet access, they can be a part of the collaborative playlist.

However, it’s not perfect. In one case, a song that was otherwise queued up in Spotify began playing for a few seconds before Spartify’s song started. In another, the gap between songs was too long. And there’s no way for the host to kill a song if it is undesirable.

This warning pops up, but if you "launch" and "remember," things flow much more smoothly.

In addition to fixing those issues, hopefully, the Spartify team hopes to add Facebook and Twitter integration sometime down the line, plugging this app aimed at social gatherings into the social web. Users could create a Facebook event through Spartify, so that guests could use the event page to build the night’s playlist before the party even starts, or tweet requests by sending them to @Spartify.

Spartify is free and fully operational, despite having been built in a 24-hour period at a Music Hack Day. If I were the party-throwing type, I’d use it to soundtrack my next bash.

  • Sam Henwood

    Hooray!

    I have been wanting (and thinking of creating this app) for a while but could never justify the dev time. Thanks for the tip.