There's no denying it. Hoooka has a killer name. Its motto ("Take a hit, pass it on") is pretty good too. But this new side project of the Indie 911 social network, which launched in beta earlier this week, isn't particularly momentous. The central concept behind Hoooka, according to the company, is enabling "both artists and fans to play, share, promote and sell their favorite digital media."
But that's really nothing new. Amie Street, which we covered a while back and then revisited more recently, is an independent music retailer that features embeddable widgets that bands and artists can put on their MySpace pages to sell their music. And BurnLounge, which has been around for a while now, also allows users to create their own music stores, though there are no widget features.
Hooka tries to combine a whole lot of trendy buzzwords and come up with a final product, but it just doesn't get there. There's built-in chat, a way to incorporate both user-generated as well as Hoooka's own video content into the widget's playlist, and a "sounds-like" music discovery tool for finding new artists a la Last.fm. Oh, and you can sell music through your Hoooka, too. But here's the thing. There are so many random social-media and Web 2.0 features built into this application that a lot of people probably aren't going to be sure exactly how they can use it. And since MySpace itself offers many of the same features, I don't think a band (or fan) will be inclined to embed an additional piece of webware.
Not to mention the fact that Hoooka's interface slowed down my Firefox browser significantly. Though maybe that's intentional, you know, like the contents of a hookah pipe slowing down your mental faculties. Or it could be because I'm using a Mac. This Hoooka might not be Apple-flavored.
Can you tell I'm having a lot of fun with this name?