TinySong vs MixTurtle smackdown

TinySong is an interesting and original piece of work.

Like Seeqpod and MixTurtle, it’s a search engine for free-range MP3s. But those apps are designed to lock you in to listening in the context of their own web pages. They won’t even give you song URLs for your search results, even though their own business relies on other people publishing URLs.

What TinySong does is different: it gives you a URL that you can use to share the song with friends. Like TinyURL the URL is a short link pointing to their web site which redirects to a remote web site.

This way of doing things complements and integrates with the rest of the web.

There are already many places to listen to music. Apps like MixTurtle block you out from getting to them. Like a pushy salesman, they grab your attention stream and try to prevent you from leaving. TinySong does the opposite. Like a great salesman it makes itself helpful when you need it, then gets out of the way.

TinySong has only one little thing which is special about it, and it invests all its energy there.

TinySong interoperates easily with the rest of the web because it uses the universal API: the URL. You can almost never use Open Social to interface your app with social networks. You can almost always paste in a link.

But TinySong doesn’t work on the level of MP3 links. It works with web pages that expose the media in whatever format they want to, whether as a streaming ASF, the Ogg applet on Wikipedia, or a Flash player. The media file is on a lower level than the user is thinking about. Maybe the user will want to download, but that’s not what TinySong is for. It is for getting a shareable reference to a song, so you can illustrate your comments with listenables.

As a result, TinySong will be a very hard target for legal pressure. Apps like MixTurtle can be forced to incur endless legal bills and have real risk to their investors of getting blown out of the water with a big judgement. TinySong is too light and discrete for that. Not only doesn’t it host the song, it doesn’t host the link or do playback. All it does is give the user a pasteable link.This is an innovative legal angle.

The big downside is that it seems to only index one source right now — a thing called GrooveShark. That’s a big limitation, but I’m assuming it’s temporary.

See also: Crenk.com on MixTurtle.

8 thoughts on “TinySong vs MixTurtle smackdown

  1. Fake? From the description of the service, I doubt tinysong was ever meant to be decentralized.

    “TinySong is a simple search box connected to Grooveshark’s library of over 6 million songs. Type in a tune and we’ll give you back an adorably short link that goes to it–and plays. Great for twitter, IM, signatures, and anywhere else you want to send your friends a song.”

  2. You see that description on TinySong somewhere, Myke? I see it on a site that is for all practical purposes a third party site, because it isn’t linked or acknowledged from TinySong. It’s a fake kind of decentralization.

    Anyhow, what’s more interesting is that this company is choosing to pay royalties for song plays rather than linking off to third party sites for them. They have already set up licensing deals and are using them to power a new product, TinySong.

    Which means there doesn’t yet exist a company which does nothing but manage redirects to third party song hosts.

  3. You’re right, I do not. Nor do I see any text claiming to search any particular source. It is, however, branded and “powered by” grooveshark, with a link to said site. I immediately guessed all songs would be links to their site. Your mind jumped the other direction. Doesn’t mean their faking.

  4. Lucas, Hype Machine pretty much “manages redirects to third party song hosts”. They don’t have all this fancy “pastable URL” technology, but you could build it on top of their site as Greasemonkey script that mashed them up with TinyURL.

    In fact, when Hype Machine relaunched with their current vc-funded site lo these many moons ago (fall ’07), they had greatly de-emphasized the ability to listen to the music on their own site to the point of making it quite difficult and were focusing solely on the ability to read snippets of blog posts, with listening left to clicking through to the original page. There was such an incredible outcry from their users that, to their credit, they rapidly retreated, restoring much of the listen-on-site functionality that had been the core of the previous Hype Machine (read their blog posts around this moment, here: http://blog.hypem.com/page/4/ and particularly the very striking contrast between: http://blog.hypem.com/2007/10/whats-new-on-the-hype-machine/ and http://blog.hypem.com/2007/10/so-wheres-the-flash-pop-up-player/ and the following posts; just watch them struggle to convince their audience that hypem is about more than just listening to the songs in the face of the obvious rejection of that idea).

    The idea that some other more contemporary technology (such as micro-blog linking or taste publishing) can supersede actually listening to music as the core of a successful web-based music technology, an idea that the labels have pushed had via their all-out war on the actual listening technology of all stripes and we web-devs have accepted in the name of peace and practicability, is why their has been no really large scale breakout music site in this era of large scale breakout media sites. On the web, finding stuff means search. And listening means mp3s and flash. There just aren’t that many ways to combine those technologies, and there, apparently, aren’t any that can both withstand labels’ legal pressure and provide a user experience of any large scale value.


  • Lucas Gonze’ blog » on user unhappiness with the Hype Machine redesign

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