Music discovery on the web has evolved over the years, with popular services like Pandora and Grooveshark leading the way. Although they’re a tough act to follow, some new players take the challenge head on, with surprising success. Originally a Chrome extension, Exfm’s full web service is now a notable contender for a music discovery site, with over 300,000 users and counting. Learn how Exfm can be your next music hangout on the web.
Exfm is a music discovery app that lets you focus on two things: finding music and sharing it. If you’re looking to build playlists and save your own music files, then you’re probably better off with other services. However, if you want to stream new, interesting stuff from popular and upcoming artists alike, Exfm is a great place to start.
Finding Music the Easy Way
The interface is a no-brainer, and doesn’t overwhelm the uninitiated. A menu bar is neatly placed to the left, the music controls on the bottom, and a minimal Search bar on top.
The first tab on the menu bar is for viewing your profile. You can sign in Exfm by creating a free account, or use your Twitter or Facebook account to connect. Your profile will show any track you’re listening to, your recent activities, songs you loved and your social contacts (people who follow you and people you follow). If you use Twitter to create an account, it will also show details from your Twitter profile page, including your background image.
The most straightforward approach to finding music is by using the search button (found on the top of the page). This is, of course, if you know what you’re looking for, which may not always be the case. Search results are pretty impressive, as I was able to find songs from artists outside the US. Since Exfm’s music data is sourced from Last.fm, you can expect a wide selection to answer to any query.
The Trending section is the quickest way to see all trending songs as accessed by Exfm users. This is defaulted to all song genres but can be filtered to more specific tastes such as Pop or Rock.
The songs are shown in tiled view and mousing over one shows the Play button in the middle, with sharing icons on the top and user avatars (who loved the song) on the bottom.
Trending songs are not necessarily new ones, these are simply songs that most users are listening to — and is a healthy mix of old favorites and new releases.
To view more options for a song other than playing or adding to a queue, you can click on the song title and it should show you a more detailed page. Here, you can see tags and similar artists, as well as a Buy button — which links to the Amazon product page where you can purchase the track directly.
The best way to go deeper into finding great music is by clicking on over the Explore button. Here, music selections are grouped by genre, music blogs, curated content by the mysterious Tastemakers, and a feed of the most recent loved songs. Pick one song from a list and add to your music queue, or listen to all of them by pressing on the big Play button. Apart from the Following section on the menu, this seems to be a better way to find people to follow.
Playback controls are located on the bottom, and currently playing songs can be shared via email or social networks Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. The heart button will add a song to your Loved list. The last two buttons on the right are for toggling the playlist and shuffle.
Although playlists are “remembered” even after you’ve logged out, you cannot create different ones. You can, however, delete or love songs that are currently in your playlist.
Exfm has a Sites section which features music blogs from across the web including playlists hosted by Soundcloud. Just like users, you can also follow these sites, and their feed will be shown a separate tab under Sites You Follow — which is automatically created once you follow a site.
The app settings can be accessed from the drop down found on the top right corner. This where you can edit your account password and email, change profile details and add a photo, link social networks and control what information is shared, and even change the background image for the app. You can choose from several built-in images, or you can upload your own.
There’s no doubt that Exfm can appeal to certain music fans who may want to spend less time looking for music and more time discovering it. The modern interface and different options for music discovery is enough to keep you instantly engaged after just a few minutes of using the app.
Some features, such as the playlist view, can do with a bit of improvement. It’s also important to note that the app buffers your playlists with suggested tracks, so expect to see songs that you may not remember adding to the queue.
Overall, Exfm does deliver its promise of discovering music the easier way. With a visually stunning interface, great music selections and a thriving community of music geeks, this little startup may just become the next big app.