music sharing as core functionality for social networking

Ning, the social networking web app for making social networking web apps, has released a module for adding music sharing to your social networking app. It’s very nicely done, and the care they took with it is instructive. Here’s the feature list from their announcement:

Music Player Features

Your social network now comes standard with:

  • One very sweet music player for your network’s Main page and each of your Members’ profile pages. It’s added automatically when you choose Music from the Features page
  • MP3 playback (we’ll be adding support for other file types soon)
  • Upload, edit, and order your tracks right in the player
  • Embed your music player and playlist on any blog or MySpace page.
  • Decide if you want songs to autoplay or not. (It defaults to no autoplay)
  • Upload music and podcasts directly to your network or import them from an URL off your network
  • Share and rate tracks
  • Add tracks from other members’ music players with one click (the Add to Mine button that you’ll see when the person enables it)
  • Display highest rated or most recent tracks from across the network on the Main page. (Feature specific tracks coming soon)
  • Edit track information: track title, artist, artwork (displayed on the player), album name, genre, year, label, artist website, host website (for external tracks), label site, license (including copyright or any of the most popular creative commons options), explicit lyrics flag
  • Choose the option to display MP3 download links to other members
  • Add external hosted playlists via RSS (podcast), XSPF, and M3U.

What is significant about this from my perspective is that it makes music sharing a core feature of any social network. This makes so much sense that I wonder why it took so long to happen — of course groups like a beer can collectors guild would want to be able to share relevant music (like singalongs about cone tops) and talk (like interviews with beverage historians).

(I would paste in their Flash screencast here, but my blog host (wordpress.com) blocks out most third party widgets. So go check out the screencast on Ning.com).

(Full disclosure: I consulted for Ning a couple years ago).

16 thoughts on “music sharing as core functionality for social networking

  1. Nice.

    Goes to show that I was right about it being core functionality, just slow to pick up on the other relevant sites.

    Still, something that worries me about this trend is that the authoring software and rendering software are usually from the same site, so they usually don’t open their playlists for offsite use.

  2. Hey Lucas!

    Playlists on your network on Ning are exportable. Moreover, you can embed your music player off your network or page on Ning.

    And thanks for the kind words about our player!

    Gina

  3. Well, in fact Ning does open the playlist for offsite use, any xspf rendering client can play the playlists pointed in the playlist_url parameter of the music player embed code. It is true that this link should be more easy to get and we have that on our list already for the next update :)

  4. I notice that my own preferred socal network, Livejournal, finally took the modest step of permitting one to embed flash media widgets into the page.

    I suspect that a pleasing erosion of the mental divide between “webpage” and “weblog” will ensue,
    as social networking platforms acquire cool features that once we thought available only with a certain minimum level of “webdesign”.

    Among the lessons myspace teaches is that even mildly chaotic functionality is workable if the social network is in place and if the features, however curious the bulletin-board like platform, somehow work a bit anyway. As slicker networks arise, a sharing culture will not only benefit but will evolve in ways we do not yet foresee.

  5. I took a second look at the screencast, and realized that this feature will enable a kind of collaborative filtering:

    # Add tracks from other members’ music players with one click (the Add to Mine button that you’ll see when the person enables it)

    Though that would be better if this feature used adds as well as ratings to detect popularity:

    # Display highest rated or most recent tracks from across the network on the Main page. (Feature specific tracks coming soon)

  6. http://songbirdnest.com/

    “Songbird™ is a desktop Web player, a digital jukebox and Web browser mash-up. Like Winamp, it supports extensions and skins feathers. Like Firefox®, it is built from Mozilla®, cross-platform and open source.”

  7. “[…] by mikelove on June 4th, 2007 Quick post, I read on Lucas Gonze’s blog that Ning – a company that let’s you create and customize your own social networks – now […]”
    wery good

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