Over the weekend, a brand new service called Console launched a website that allows electronic dance music fans to listen to tracks and chat with each other. What EDM fans will probably find most compelling about this site is that it allows you to stream the Beatport top 100 charts for each sub genre, and in many cases allows you to listen to and download full songs! Find out more about how this site works and see screen shots after the jump.
After entering the site via your Twitter username, you are prompted to select a sub genre. Yes, these are the same sub genres that Beatport uses.
The fact that Console uses the same genre classifications as Beatport is no coincidence. Upon entering a room, you will notice that the playlist looks very much like the Beatport top 100. Just compare the Console Electro House playlist to the Beatport Electro House Top 100. Note: if this Beatport user interface is unfamiliar to you it’s because it’s the Beatport Beta user interface.
As you can see, the list is not exactly the same. Console is missing the #3 Beatport Electro House track, Mattias and G80s’ ‘We Gonna Play.’ Some songs in Console are the same 2 minute snippets that you will find on Beatport, but others are full length versions of the song. How is this possible?
Console uses the Soundcloud API (Soundcloud’s public code language… for those of you non-geeks) to pull tracks from their service. It appears that Console tries to find every song in the Beatport top 100 on Soundcloud and then it adds it to the playlist.
Right click to download!
Right clicking on each song title will allow you to save it to your computer. This may not be as interesting for the 2 minute snippets, but it’s certainly more interesting for the full version songs. Console is displaying the full version when it can find it on Soundcloud. Beatport top 100 artists don’t normally upload full versions of their songs to Soundcloud. The full versions Console normally finds are being uploaded by Soundcloud users who are violating Soundcloud’s copyright policy. One could argue that Console is still playing fair because it’s not providing the music files. Technically, Soundcloud is. This is a similar situation to how several Youtube users upload music that they don’t own.
After logging on with your Twitter ID, you can chat with other people in your room. We found this to be a fun addition to the service but not as compelling as the chat rooms in another .fm music service that people have been comparing Console to… Turntable.
Console is very well designed. The site is minimal and the user experience is very intuitive. We see Console being a popular choice as a casual radio option because the site plays continuously without advertisements. Casual EDM fans will enjoy the sub genre classifications and the ranking system. Serious EDM fans will appreciate having a nicer way to listen to the Beatport Top 100 and they will take advantage of the download option for full length tracks. While we are optimistic about it’s reception amongst consumers, we are skeptical about it’s reception from the music industry. Artists, record labels, and especially Beatport will not be happy. Beatport’s charts are one of the most attractive features of it’s site and they will certainly be disappointed to learn that someone else has created a better version of their chart product. Perhaps the biggest winner from all of this is Soundcloud. This might become one of the most high profile uses of Soundcloud’s API. The growing platform would like to become the first source people look to for music discovery and powering other popular music sites across the web will certainly contribute to that goal.
Geeks only beyond this point.
Special shout out to Scott Schiller whose audio script, SoundManager 2, powers the audio player used on Console. SoundManager2 is also used by Soundcloud and many others, and we may be using it in our new HTML5 player here on Dancing Astronaut (coming soon!).