23. February 2012–
First review of Wahwah.fm – social radio app
Wahwah.fm is a new concept in “social radio”. In a nutshell, it hooks up with your iTunes library and lets you broadcast your personal music stream while you listen. You can tap in to other users’ streams and listen to their latest jams, searching by vicinity, recommendations or latest additions. Read on for our first review of wahwah.fm...
Billed as a “Twitter for your ears” wahwah.fm potentially hooks you up to a whole new world of music discovery by following peers and their personal streams. And it also opens you up to the joy of surprise – you can’t browse libraries, but simply tune into whatever’s being broadcast right there and then.
So if it’s the first spring day in Berlin, or the May Day Parade then you can potentially tap into awesome fist-punching playlists that'll reflect the popular mood in your area.
Hooking up to the hive mind
When you launch the app you’re presented with a simple interface – anyone who’s used a type of social network or peer sharing will be familiar with the controls.
As a listener, you are presented with the choice of browsing via People or Places. People, unsurprisingly, is the users you have chosen to follow based on their music tastes, while Places will let you see who is broadcasting and how nearby.
Being a new app, the choices at the moment are a little limited, with a lot of streams containing simply single tracks being promoted by early-adopter record labels, such as Mute, but we can expect things to get a lot more interesting as the user base picks up.
When you tap into the stream, you’ll see a control panel that displays how many listeners there are, plus gives you the option to interact with your new contacts through in-app messaging, or Facebook sharing.
• Review continues after the obligatory DJ Kitty pic •
Broadcast your own jams
My Radio will take you to the controls to add music from your library and become the DJ. Wahwah.fm works by scanning your music library and matching it up with a streaming service that actually broadcasts your tunes. This means that your music library may not be represented in its entirety – the app will let you know how many tunes have been identified.
Wahwah.fm also uses an algorithm to stop you playing lots of tunes by the same artist, claiming that “this is radio after all”, although if we want to broadcast an entire afternoon of Bruce Springsteen, then it seems a little mean not to let us (although it does prevent against record labels taking advantage).
Swipe through your track or access on an A-Z screen and you can start to build your own broadcast – from feelgood Friday tunes to woozy Sunday vibes, to your top five current favourites – the possibilities are limited only by your library.
A whole new way to network
This is where wahwah.fm gets interesting – music is such an emotive medium that to have an app that can reflect a general mood or trend with tunes the same way that Twitter would use hashtags, could blossom into a wonderful new way to communicate and provide an audio litmus test of the current mood.
And the possibilities for use (and let’s face it, monetisation for wahwah.fm are huge) – gig promoters, musicians and record labels can all live-promote a release, event or gig in the vicinity by broadcasting the relevant tunes. Nice.
wahwah.fm – the verdict
Of course, like any social app, its success relies soley on user uptake. At present, wahwah.fm is only available in Germany and on iTunes, although a US, UK and worldwide rollout plus added platform support for Android and Windows are all planned for 2012.
If enough users decide to adopt, then this could open up a whole new way to consume and share music, as well as communicate with those around you. If not, you'll be stuck listening to Mute's latest artists and my Bruce Springsteen (themed) playlist.
We'll just have to, ahem, stay tuned...
Image credit: DJ Kitty – flickr user jeknee