Promising an experience akin to sharing music with your bunkmate in college, summer camp, cruise ship quarters, or wherever else they have bunkbeds these days, MusicBunk recently launched as a social music player that’s free on iOS and Android.
On a basic level, the MusicBunk app connects you with friends and like-minded fans so you can see what’s in the music collections on everyone else’s devices; comment on what other people are listening to; see what other people in your network like; and what they have recently downloaded. The whole deal is hooked into Facebook, Twitter, and your contact list, to make it easy to find friends who are also using the app — or, it can play matchmaker and find you potential pals, just like mom used to do (or was that just us?).
Happily, you can register with Facebook, Twitter, or plain old email, in case you’re not so into the forced sharing thing. And while MusicBunk says it wants your phone number to help you find “your friend,” that part is optional. So far so good, on the privacy front.
Once we were up and running with MusicBunk, it was immediately apparent that although this app packs loads of features, it’s actually fairly simple to use due to some sort of app design nin-jitsu. We found it easy to add friends, check out their feeds and the main feed, post stories into the MusicBunk social network (with the option to promulgate that out to Facebook and Twitter), peruse people’s music collections, and always — and this is crucial — return to the currently-playing song.
We say “crucial” because at its core, this is a music player, with the ability to listen to your own library by all, shuffle, artist, “like,” or recently-added, so if it failed in that regard, the question of whether its social features are up to snuff would be largely academic.
Only two of my Facebook friends are on MusicBunk, which was fine by me. I’ve seen what a lot of my Facebook friends listen to, and I don’t like most of it. So I also decided to let MusicBunk hook me up with people whose taste I share.
My top match was a guy (I presume) named Ricardo Reis. As promised, I was able to view his collection by song, artist, playlist, recently-added, “like”, and “match” (songs that you also have) — all 2,719 songs of it. I friended him, but even without a response, I was able to check out his tunes.
Other people’s collections can be a bit slow to load, but considering that you’re loading this information from someone else’s phone (or at least a stored version of its library), waiting five-to-ten seconds seems understandable in this context. As promised, we were able to listen to the tracks in other people’s libraries. But don’t call the RIAA just yet — you only get 30-second samples when listening to other people’s music.
Overall, we found MusicBunk to be worth the install (hey, it’s free), if you’re the type who tends to download music to your phone’s library, rather than listening within an app — even though not many people seem to be using it yet. Yes, the whole “Twitter for music” concept is already a bit tired, but somebody’s going to crack that particular code, and it could by MusicBunk (plus, they shot a neat video, below).
This app is not alone — it’s somewhat along the lines of BudtoBud, except that one is for Apple laptops and desktops (so far). It also bears some similarity to Wahwah.fm, which is more of a broadcaster than a player, but enables full-track playback over its network.