November 29, 2012 at 9:33 am

Reddit Upvotes Tubalr for YouTube Music

Tubalr is simple.

It slaps a nice front-end on top of the YouTube API that lets you enter any artist name and click one of two buttons, like so:


The result: hassle-free artist radio that starts up quickly, and has the added bonus of showing videos. Tubalr plays music videos from YouTube, programming the channels using music intelligence from The Echo Nest (publisher of  to figure out which songs to play for each artist, under each setting.

Developer Cody Jack Stewart says he has been working on this thing for about two years. But starting on Tuesday, Reddit exploded the app’s popularity, at least for now, upvoting Tubalr to number 8 on the front page. This is what happens when a music app gets tens of thousands of Reddit upvotes in a matter of days:

“Holy sh*t, I had to leave work, while on the train this exploded. I’m running into some API limits and have reached out to Echo Nest for some help. I’m limited to 500 request per minute, so bare with me :(”

He sorted out the API limit, and now, Tubalr is up and running once again.

Apps that use YouTube as a music source are fairly standard, and many options exist for artist radio. Reddit even has its own radio service, featuring bands from Reddit itself.

So why did Tubalr blow up this week? We cannot pretend to know these things, but all we know for sure is that it works like a charm. Another may have been his headline… “It’s not Pandora, Spotify, or Rdio… but it’s something I’ve been making the past 2 years. What do you guys think?”

We caught up with Stewart for a brief interview to find out a little more about Tubalr (interviews edited for length and clarity).

Eliot Van Buskirk, Where did the idea for Tubalr come from?

Cody Jack Stewart, Tubalr: One day I was surfing Facebook and came across a really high-quality video of some band’s concert. That lead me to browser around on YouTube for more, and to my amazement, there where tons of music videos [it's true]. So I figured why not make a surface that just streams all of these videos back to back and while I’m at it remove some of YouTube clutter (comments, etc.). Why did you post it on Reddit this week? Why now, if it has been in development for two years?
Stewart: It was just a shot in the dark. I’m always looking to improve Tubalr, and I knew I could get some real support and advice from Reddit. What’s your day job?
Stewart: I’m a Software Engineer for Vitrue (recently bought by Oracle). Do you still use Tubalr yourself?
Stewart: Every day.