8tracks describes itself as “music rediscovered”. Critics agree. The free social cloud music service centered around playlists has been proudly featured on TIME, Wired, and Business Insider. Interestingly enough, none of them say anything about the service that someone who actually used the service would say though. Anyway, their service is simple, popular, and does a good job at playing good music (that’s the point of a music service, right?). You could even say their playlists are smart music playlists. For this reason, we crown them as the best website for cloud playlists.
When you arrive at 8tracks, you will see a simple display, a prelude of the simplicity ahead. Type in one or two tags and 8tracks will show you the most popular playlists they have for those tags. By using tags, they allow their users to search for playlists by genre, mood, or even by an artist’s name. You can then sort the playlists by which ones are newest or which ones are getting popular the fastest (trending).
Eight Track Minimum User Curated Playlists
8tracks gets its name from the minimum they put on the length of playlists; each “smart music playlist” is a minimum of eight tracks. Also, each playlist can only feature the same artist no more than twice. You can upload your own songs or drag and drop songs from SoundCloud directly within their website. The eight track minimum along with the requirement of artist diversity causes users to spend time on their playlists. Actual humans are creating quality smart music playlists for you. This is a nice twist from the song-based recommendation approach that Pandora, Last.fm, Spotify, and Grooveshark use.
Like System Filters Out Poor Quality Content
After a playlist is published, their built-in like function allows them to accurately judge the most popular and trending playlists. When you like a playlist, it saves to your personalized dashboard and you can access it at anytime later for free. You can also follow the publisher of a playlist and have their new playlists show up in your news feed on your dashboard.
You can also add playlists to your collection without liking them. Instead of using the heart button, use the plus button to add the playlist to your collection of playlists. You can sort these playlists into different folders for organizational purposes.
The way they use likes on playlists to filter out the poor quality content that floods these social media websites is genius. It is quite similar to the way Vimeo uses channels. Both web services have proven that this is a formula for high quality content, a formula that leads to a successful web service. Starting to see why we think their playlists are smart music playlists?
Use it as a Cloud Music Library
8tracks also allows you to save each song you like in other people’s playlists. You do this by adding the song to your favorites. In this way, you can use 8tracks as a cloud music library; upload your music as playlists and then favorite the music you want in your cloud music library that you do not have. Although there may be better methods, 8tracks allow you to do this in a completely legal way.
8tracks integrates tightly with iTunes so we are guessing that they are part of the Apple iTunes Affiliate Program. This is how they make money to fund the free playlist service. There are also occasional ads but they are much less annoying and less frequent than Pandora’s. If you want to remove the ads you can sign up for 8tracks plus, which also adds some other features geared towards DJs.
Some of their success can be traced to the fact that 8tracks is a social website; they use the opinions of the users to filter out poor quality content. Part of the reason they were so successful integrating this method with their service is their tight integration with social media services. You can connect with Facebook or Google and find your contacts who are using 8tracks.