Discover New Music with TuneGlue

Your favorite song right now most likely won’t be the same a year from now. After listening to the same music for awhile, you probably start craving something fresh and new. The great thing about the music industry is there’s never a shortage of new music to discover, but discovering it might be a little harder.

Among the many methods of discovering music, TuneGlue is a fun little application that seems to do quite well. TuneGlue is an interactive music mapping web app for discovering new artists related to a starting artist searched for. Let’s take a quick look at using TuneGlue to find new artists.

Musical Artist Mapping with TuneGlue

When you navigate to audiomap.tuneglue.net, you start with an essentially blank page. To get started, simply enter a musical artist you like in the search field at the top right of the page.

TuneGlue Home

TuneGlue Home

I’ve entered Breaking Benjamin to start. From here you’ll click the large black circle, called a node, to get additional menu options.

Node Menu

Node Menu

You’re presented with four options; Expand, Releases, Lock Pos and Delete. I don’t want this node to move so I’ve first clicked Lock Pos, which locks the node in its current position. This will make a little more sense here in just a moment.

Expand New Artists

To see artists related to this node, click Expand. Six new artists spring out, which are related to the artist they’re attached to via line. From here, you can select another artist and repeat these steps to explore further.

Artist (Node) Expand

Artist (Node) Expand

Node Lock and Positioning

Earlier I mentioned clicking the Lock Pos button in order to lock the desired node in its current position. As you can imagine, once you start expanding several nodes, the canvas will quickly begin filling with nodes and become cluttered. To keep the map relatively organized, you can lock the position of specific nodes and move them around the canvas as desired.

Node Positioning

Node Positioning

As you expand more artists, the map will automatically focus on newly expanded nodes. When that happens, your other artists might become hidden within the overall map. Hold Shift to move the map around as needed.

Move Map Holding Shift

Move Map Holding Shift

Releases and Removing Nodes

Delete Node (artist)

Delete Node (artist)

Once you find a new artist you would like to see releases, just click the Releases button. You’ll get a new window displaying releases from that artist via Amazon.com. Unfortunately, at the time of testing this app, the code that opens artist releases was missing a parameter Amazon required; so, the Releases function appears to be temporarily broken.

If you get nodes (artists) you don’t want included in your map, just delete the desired nodes to remove them.

As you can tell, in very little time a rather large musical artists map can be created, which would hopefully lead you to some new music you might like. If not, at least it’s fun exploring artists and their relationships to each other. The information on these relationships is provided by Last FM and Amazon, so it’s safe to say it’s pretty accurate.

Adjusting Settings

There’s a few other settings you can change to make the app map artists a little differently. You can increase or decrease the number of nodes when expanding, node friction and node elasticity.

Node friction changes how fast the nodes will move around if dragged and released farther from a locked node. Node elasticity changes how close the nodes stay to their related nodes; which changes the node relationship line rather than the node itself.

Adjusting Settings

Adjusting Settings

Improvements and Final Thoughts

I really like TuneGlue and its concept of interaction and musical artist discovery, but it definitely needs a few improvements. The app has no help information (coming soon) and needs its Releases feature fixed asap since that’s a core feature.

It would be great to see integration with iTunes as an option other than Amazon. While exploring by artist is fun, I think it would bring a whole new level to the app if it was capable of exploring by song.

Another disappointment is that your map cannot be saved or exported. Exporting isn’t an all too important option (but would be really nice, not to mention more fun), but saving your maps seems like something most people would want—especially after creating large and detailed maps.

It seems like the app is relatively new, but a quick Google search tells us that it’s been around since 2007. Hopefully its development hasn’t ceased; if it has, this concept is something another developer might be interested in picking up. What do you think of TuneGlue? What music discovery apps do you use?