Adding location awareness to music apps is fast becoming a major mobile trend, as is evident by a rash of new mobile music apps hitting app stores of late.
Use of location technology is taking many forms. Many, if not most, are designed to let users tag a location with a song. The result can be a localized, crowdsourced playlist, add context to the discovery of a new song or even be used as a way to find concerts and live shows. Other apps flip it around a bit by letting users in the same area determine what the venue should play.
Here are some of the apps available today that blend music with location:
SoundTracking lets users check into a location and tag that check-in with whatever song they're listening to at the moment, along with a photo and a comment by the user. That song can then be shared with other SoundTracking users, as well as more broadly via Facebook, Twitter and even Foursquare, offering 30-second samples and links to buy on iTunes.
The app helps users find concerts in their area and interact with other users at those shows by posting comments, photos, and checking in via Foursquare. Users can see which friends also using the app are planning to attend what concerts. It also recommends shows based on user activity, provides links to buy tickets, and so on. Recently, it began holding contests for participating artists, asking fans to do things like post videos of themselves singing to a band's sontg on YouTube, or review the show, etc.
Designed to let artists, labels and publishers tag their songs (or "traks") to certain locations, where other Herd.fm users can then listen to it when checking in. Users can also tag a location with a song, but only from a list of songs included in the app, by joining the participating artist's "Herd," or followers. Users discovering new songs via the app can also view artists profiles, see a map of where that artist's songs have been dropped by other users, and get information on promotions and new content. All songs can be streamed on-demand.
Creates localized playlists based on songs users tag to a given location. Rather than streaming on-demand, the app randomizes the songs much like an Internet radio service. Those playlists can be shared with other users worldwide. Users can also see what playlists others nearby have created and tagged to the same location.
Music-based social network designed to let users see what people are saying at concerts around the country in real time. Users can check into shows, find other shows in their area, invite friends to join them at concerts, add concerts to their calendar, buy tickets, read news, and send personalized messages to other users.
Lets users attach a Spotify playlist to a Foursquare venue. Other users checking into the venue can add their own songs to the playlist, essentially crowdsourcing the venue's unique song list. It requires a premium Spotify account (where that service is active) as well as a Foursquare account.
With a venue participating, the app lets users chose the playlist at a local bar by voting on what song plays next. The venue owner selects a list of songs for patrons to choose from, and then puts the control into their hands. Users purchase which song they want to hear next (like a jukebox) and others rate them to determine the order of play. Users can share the songs they chose via Facebook and Twitter, and can earn badges through certain accomplishments. The app won the music portion of the SXSW BizSpark Accelerator contest.
For more on location-based mobile music platforms see the April 2, 2011 Billboard magazine story "SoundTracking And SuperGlued" by Antony Bruno.