June 3, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Piki.fm Lets You Collect Music to Make Radio for Other People


By now, you’ve probably heard of Piki.fm (free for the web and iOS), the latest venture from the creators of the breakthrough music app Turntable.fm, which powers internet radio streams based on your friends’ music.

Since Piki’s much anticipated public release in April, some have questioned the necessity of this service. With heavy hitters Twitter and Google recently joining the already crowded music streaming market, and rumors of a forthcoming service from Apple, does Piki have a shot at success?

pikiWell, the thing about music apps is that unlike with MP3 players, you can use as many as you want.

This works in Piki’s favor, because it takes a unique approach to music collecting. We’ve been on the prowl for ways to collect music that make sense. Like other similar apps we’ve recently reviewed (Later.fm, Ivy, and Minilogs), Piki has a bookmarklet you can add to your bookmarks bar and use to “pick” music you find across music services, like YouTube, Rdio, and Pandora.

If you wanted to use Piki solely as a music bookmarking service, you definitely could. However, the way it’s set up to be a streaming radio service will slightly affect your experience. First of all, the music you chronicle feeds your music profile, which then powers recommendations for other users. This means that you can’t actually listen to your collection within the app, as you can with other bookmarking apps.

Also, when you do pick a song to chronicle (either by finding it online or searching for it in the catalog), Piki doesn’t save it directly from the source, but actually tries to determine what song it is and match it to a song in its own database (i.e. Turntable.fm’s catalog, licensed from MediaNet). Unfortunately, it doesn’t always find the right match.

Even though Piki works just fine as a music bookmarking tool and didn’t present any big problems during testing, you’ll probably only stick with it if you enjoy the social radio component, which is neat — sort of like This Is My Jam, but for radio. For those strictly looking for a music bookmarking tool, though, we’d recommend the other music bookmarkers listed above.