I spoke with Mercora founder Srivats Simpath about three years ago as the company was looking for possible partnership opportunities with Microsoft. At the time, the company's vision and proposed business model seemed a little muddy. Music was involved. There would be some sort of peer-to-peer sharing system, but somehow this would be legal. To differentiate itself from the popular but illegal file-sharing systems used by most of the world at that time, Mercora would have a strong social-networking aspect, with users recommending or voting on songs. I don't remember exactly how the company expected to make money, … Read more
Social.fm, a music site that was known as Mercora until last year, has officially folded.
"We regret to inform you and apologize for this inconvenience, but Social.fm will be shutting down the system on July 31st, 2008," a message on the site read.
The shutdown was first reported by GigaOM.
Despite having raised $5 million in venture funding from Norwest Venture Partners and signing a deal with Microsoft, Social.fm never found its niche. It originally started out as a peer-to-peer Web radio and music search site, and CEO Srivats Sampath once made the dubious claim … Read more
Social.fm (formerly Mercora) has a new music sharing widget for social networking users that's got a few tricks up its sleeve. For one thing, it'll scour your profile (on the Facebook version) to figure out your musical tastes, and then do its best to serve up a playlist of those same artists, or others that have been clumped in the same playlists by Social.FM's DJs. The great hope is that the player will adapt to your changing tastes.
Like Qloud's solution, which I took a look at earlier this month, the widget goes hand-in-hand with a desktop application that will link up to your library and do the same thing with your entire music collection. The weakness therein is the widget's UI, which borrows from Apple's CoverFlow sans actual player controls save a large stop button. While this works okay for a few songs, like the inherent weakness of CoverFlow as a navigation medium, the system falls apart if you're actually trying to browse a large music collection or use the right side of your brain for finding artists, albums, or genres.
One thing Social.FM does really well (as it should) is serve up good music. There are some high-quality tracks on here, and a lot of it is surprisingly not just run-of-the-mill studio cuts, but radio appearances or professionally recorded live performances. One of my big beefs with Qloud was that the entirety of the content was coming from YouTube, and there was no way to really dig in to try to get better versions of a song. Facebook users get the added benefit of being able to share their listening habits with others, as listening to a track will publish to your mini feed, and music your friends are listening to will show up in the main news feed if they've got the app installed.
Social.FM is serving up two versions of the widget, one that's a Facebook app, and another that you can plug into any social networking service or site that can handle Adobe Flash embeds, like MySpace, Friendster, and Xanga. You can also stick it on your blog or Web site, which I've done after the break. The company tells me they're working on integrating better with Google's OpenSocial initiative to make their non-Facebook version a little more robust. They're also working on adding a recommendation feature that will let you share a song you're listening to with any user, similar to what some of the other Facebook music apps have done.
Mercora used to be an Internet radio service, but then it launched a music-streaming service for smart phones, "M," last year. It had a $50-a-year subscription fee, but it allowed owners to stream music from their own PC to their phone, as well as access the music of up to five friends.
But now, it's free. And it is utilizing the Internet buzzword of the moment--social--to describe … Read more