Jukeboxes have populated local watering holes for decades, providing countless hours of entertainment for patrons. Now that nearly every place has a network connection--and just about any song you'd ever want to hear is available online--the digital jukebox is slowly replacing the traditional vinyl-spinning models (for better or worse).
One of the largest providers for pay-to-play music via digital jukeboxes is TouchTunes, which offers both the hardware and the music to go with it. Now, the company is expanding its purview to include a Web-based service called MyTouchTunes, which lets users create playlists at home and then access them later at nearly any location with a TouchTunes jukebox.
The service is straightforward enough in concept if not quite in site design. The interface isn't terrible, but it could use a little tweaking. For example, you have to search for music to add to a playlist--not the worst, but it would be nice to be able to click an add button from the playlist itself, and then be presented with a search option on just that page. Navigating is easy enough, with the myMusic button in the left nav and the location search in the right column being the most immediately useful options. There's also a Create a Playlist box on the right shoulder, and this could stand to be more prominent (I'd also like to see it integrated directly into the myMusic space).
Once you've got a playlist going, adding songs is a simple matter of searching for what you want and then clicking the little plus icon next to the desired track. The TouchTunes catalog seems fairly large, though I did have trouble finding more fringe artists such as Out Hud and Caravan Palace and or even lesser-known songs by well-known artists, such as "Houses in Motion" by Talking Heads. The service does offer a 30-second preview for tracks, which is definitely appreciated. There's also an option (marked by a dollar sign) to purchase songs through iTunes.
A few other playlist features worth noting add to the social aspect of the service. For example, you can select whether you want to collaborate on a mix with just friends or everyone in the MyTouchTunes network. There is also an option to make the playlist public or private on the site as well as one that lets you choose whether the mix will be shown on the actual jukebox.
All in all, MyTouchTunes seems like a fun, social way to interact with music for a night out on the town. I can't say for sure yet, because I haven't had a chance to stop by a supported location to test out my first playlist--and therein lies the rub. The service is only available at 10 bars in San Francisco, and none of them is really a place I would choose to frequent. Luckily, one just happens to be on my route home today, so I'll be sure to stop in and send out an update via Twitter later. Stay tuned.