The streaming music site Finetune, a likely competitor to Pandora, is now available as a Facebook application and is working smoothly.
While Finetune launched the Facebook app in September, we found a few kinks in it and, after talking with Finetune's CEO, decided to wait on sending you there until they were ironed out.
Most of the issues with posting and sharing playlists now seem to be resolved.
The Finetune Facebook app includes a neat "social soundtrack" feature that allows friends to share and compile a playlist of songs based on a given title or theme.
Of course, as with all Finetune playlists, it's not a direct playlist like you would make with music you own on your computer. To get around the expense of becoming an on-demand service, while still offering listeners some control, Finetune playlists consist of up to 45 chosen artists. Finetune then decides which of their songs get played.
The only complaint we still have with this Facebook application is that the directly playable playlists post to the Mini-Feed section on your profile, instead of another permanent place.
You can post a playlist permanently, but only as a link that takes you to a Finetune post site from which you can play the songs.
Finetune is working on providing a permanent, embedded option, such as that available with Facebook YouTube video posting. It should be available soon, according to Finetune CEO Martin Kay.
The biggest difference between the Finetune application and the one that Pandora added to Facebook in August seems to be in how the music is chosen.
Pandora is run from the Music Genome Project engine, a database full of songs "genetically" coded by 400 music variables. The database chooses songs for you to listen to based on the musical qualities of the song or artist you choose to seed your station (aka playlist) with.
In Finetune, choosing Bob Dylan as a playlist starter brought up Neil Young, Tom Waits and Johnny Cash, but it also brought up Dire Straits. Choosing Green Day as an artist station was followed by What If I Do? by the Foo Fighters, which does not seem to have too much in common with the previous song as far as musical qualities go.
It really comes down to a matter of preference or mood.
Finetune offers more control over the actual songs you are listening to since it does let you create a 45-song artist list, and the other artists it chooses seem to be related by genre.
Pandora, by contrast, finds new singers and bands that share musical qualities, though the cultural relation is thrown out the window. If you seeded a station with Modest Mouse and there's a Celine Dion song that sounds similar to a song they sing, Pandora will offer it up as an option. It doesn't matter that the likelihood of a Modest Mouse fan liking Celine Dion is slim.
Perhaps the coolest thing with the Finetune app is that when you play the social soundtracks created by you and your friends, it shows who is responsible for adding which artist. In other words, you know who to blame for adding bands like Yaz to the list.