A reader tipped us off about Lively.fm after watching it garner acclaim on Reddit. After playing around with this web app, we can see why Redditors (who have their own homegrown music service, by the way) were so enthralled.
The graphically-driven interface of Lively.fm makes discovering new music as simple as clicking a button. Seriously. On the home screen, you’ll find a grid of album covers with play buttons. Moving your mouse over the image displays artist and song names. Song playback begins immediately when you press play. Unless you stop playback or select a new song to play, Lively.fm will stream the displayed songs like a playlist.
We’ve seen plenty of apps with this sort of graphics-intensive, tiled interface (the first being We Are Hunted, the latest being WOMP). So really, a pretty interface isn’t enough. Where does the music come from?
Lively.fm founder Behrad Ghadiri explained that songs on his site are pulled from blogs across the world, plus other music sources including SoundCloud. Hype Machine — another favorite ’round these parts — pulls its music from about a thousand blogs. Lively.fm casts its net much wider, monitoring about 50 million blogs as potential sources, according to Ghadiri.
“Overall, we try to stay fresh, unbiased, and evolving, by watching a lot of blogs instead of a limited set,” says Ghadiri. “This also lets us have a fast refresh rate, and add new songs every 10 minutes.”
Because Lively.fm provides a a seemingly endless stream of randomly-selected songs, the site serves as a great way to discover new music and waste (i.e. enjoy) some time on the internet. And you can collect music from it, into playlists. Mousing over a song image reveals an “add to playlist” button.
To personalize the service further, you can sign in with Twitter, Facebook, or email. Then you follow particular artists and other users, to create personalized playlists. Liking songs also generates a playlist.
Then there’s the “Top Charts” page, where you can catch the most popular music on the site from the current day, week, month, or all time. These charts rely on song likes, play counts, and incoming traffic from other sites to a particular song.
If you’re familiar with the web app We Are Hunted, as mentioned above, Lively.fm’s concept and look might seem familiar. A major difference between the two apps is that Lively.fm seems to monitor a more diverse range of blogs, which ensares a wider range of music, whereas We Are Hunted monitors a specific niche of music and also has people filter through songs to maintain appropriate content. Both apps are great depending on what you’re looking for, and of course, one of the great thing about being a music fan these days is that there are so many options for finding new stuff to listen to, even if you only have a few spare minutes.
Lively.fm has a lot to offer and is working hard to offer more. It has already implemented changes based on Redditors’ feedback (phone/tablet support, playlists, continuous play, top charts, and skip buttons), and is looking for more suggestions. The company is also working on iPhone and Android apps, to make it easier to take Lively.fm to go.