Personal internet radios – like Last.fm, Pandora and Spotify – haven’t been around for all that long. And contrary to the blogs, they don’t often tend to surprise you. They give you what you think you want – similar artists, similar songs, and similar everything.
Shuffler, an interesting lightweight web service, takes a rather unexpected approach. It combines the interesting and informative character of blogs with the instant-play of free internet radio.
Shuffler has built a dynamic free internet radio, by stringing together music blogs, and streaming their content. With no effort, and an appealing GUI, you can automatically jump to and fro these blogs. It’s an fascinating experience, and one that could deliver you some new musical favorites. Although some blogs publish songs by established artists, a lot of them are from smaller, largely unknown bands.
Using it is incredibly simple. You don’t even need to sign up for a free account! On the homepage, you see a grid with music Channels. Start off by selecting one to your liking, or press the arrow to prompt for yet other categories.
Shuffler will then find out a music blog that fits the channel, and immediately start playing. The blog is embedded below, so you can read the article, or roam the blog and linked pages while the music continues in the background. When the song ends, Shuffler jumps to the next song and blog post.
Using the Shuffler bar at the top, you can jump back and forth between songs. Unlike Last.fm, you can pause or revisit past songs, and have no strict listening schedule to attend to. At any time, select the dropdown menu to switch gengres.
How it Works
Shuffler keeps a close eye on a list of known music blogs, so there’s little to danger of encountering random profanity. If you host an interesting music blog yourself, you can submit it to Shuffler for approval via email.
Whenever these blogs publish a new post, Shuffler is alerted via RSS, and starts looking for embedded songs. These songs are then run through Last.fm to retrieve the music genre(s), after which they’re added to the appropriate channel. Note that the songs are streamed via the blogs, and Last.fm is only used for additional meta-data.
(Tip!) Manipulating the URL for More Music
Shuffler currently only show the 50 most popular (that is to say, the most frequently blogged about) music genres. Even some relatively popular genres, like metal, can have a weak blogging footprint. However, with a little URL-manipulation, you can listen to these channels as well. There are a lot less songs, though, and some of them might simply not belong.
You can either go to the Channel overview and rightclick->copy the link of one of the popular genres, or snag it from here: “
“. Paste it in a new tab, and change the final word to a genre of choice (view screenshot above). If Last.fm tagged any of the songs with that genre, you’ve got yourself a custom channel!