The Echo Nest: Pocket Hipster iPhone App Tunes InApp takes different approach to other music recommendation services, offering pair of virtual hipsters to suggest new tunes
February 24, 2011
by Stuart Dredge
Most music recommendation services are very polite, working on the ‘if you like that, you might like this’ principle to suggest new songs. New iPhone app Pocket Hipster takes a different approach entirely.
It’s the result of a partnership between two music technology startups, The Echo Nest and We Are Hunted, and is now available on the App Store for 59p.
Service with a smile? This is more about service with a sneer. The app includes two virtual hipsters – one male, one female – whose role in life is to be as rude as possible about songs stored on your iPhone, and then recommend other tracks you should listen to instead, complete with song streams and iTunes buy links.
“If your taste in music was an animal, it would be a one-winged pigeon with a gammy leg,” is one of the milder insults, while the hipster on my phone seems particularly fond of telling me their ears have been “totally offended” or “violated”.
Some of Pocket Hipster’s recommendations can seem quirky, for example when it served up scuzzy indie rock in response to a Chemical Brothers track. However, in a couple of days’ use, I’ve already discovered three or four interesting bands through it.
It’s a fun idea, but it’s just the start of The Echo Nest and We Are Hunted’s partnership, with the two startups promising more apps in the coming months. Both are active participants in the Music Hack Day initiative, which encourages developers to mash together different music services’ APIs to create interesting apps and websites.
Pocket Hipster is proof that these hacks can be turned into commercial apps which may find a following outside the developer community.