OK, so maybe I shouldn't readily admit how lazy I am when it comes to foraging for new music. I listen to a lot of online streams (Last.fm, Pandora, and CNET Download.com Music) and whatnot, but then forget to write down the songs I like. And who has time to comb through online music sites or dig through the bins at the local record store (do people still do that?). For precisely this reason, I--the --turn to helpful extras such as Rhapsody Channels and MTV Urge's feature for my on-the-go music needs. But the majority of MP3 player owners out there use an iPod, which isn't compatible with the aforementioned services. What's an iTunes user to do? Well, don't start feeling sorry for yourself just yet. Goombah Music Discovery is made just for you (and, you know, the millions of other iTunes users out there).
Goombah isn't a brand new service--the software was first available back in November 2006--but the company added a new feature this week, and the announcement reminded me I'd been wanting to bring it up. Goombah is a combination of software and service; that is, you download the software to your computer, but the service uses the Internet to access data--namely, other users' music libraries. It also makes your library data available to other users, so if you're big on privacy, this probably isn't for you. The download takes up a fair amount of space--155MB--and is available for both Windows and Mac systems.
So what's the point of all this library data access? Well, Goombah analyzes all of your music and then uses that info to make song and artist recommendations from other users' libraries. You can then listen to samples of tracks via iTunes, Napster, or Amazon.com. If you decide to purchase a song through one of those mediums, Goombah takes a cut, which is how the service remains free to the user. Goombah even recommends some free tunes (from up-and-coming independent artists) that you can download to iTunes.
Other features include the ability to supress artists that are already in your library from your list of recommendations and the option to blacklist specific tracks, albums, and artists. There's also an "adventurousness" slider, which you use to adjust how close to your musical tastes the recommendations will be. And then you have the new feature that was announced this week: the ability to browse other members profiles, music libraries, and opinions.
Of course, there is at least one questionable move on Goombah's part: the software doesn't distinguish between audio and video files, so my list included several TV shows, which may or may not affect the results. However, you can uncheck the boxes next to any number of your files, and this removes the tracks from the recommendation generator and prevents other users from being able to view them. (Ahem, users with "questionable" content in their libraries might want to note this fact.)