Ghostly app streams music for your mood

The Ghostly International music label launches a new iPhone app that selects music based on mood and tempo.

Donald Bell Senior Editor / How To
Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.
Donald Bell
2 min read

Ghostly Discovery running on an Apple iPhone.
Ghostly International

Mood-based music playlists have been a holy grail for audio entrepreneurs since the dawn of the MP3. There's just something unshakable about the idea that your iPod might sense your mood and play music to fit your precoffee grogginess or sun-filled Saturday frolic. Unfortunately, everyone from MIT to Memorex has experienced mixed success trying to crack the music mood algorithm.

The problem with automatic playlists based on mood is that the scope of music can often be overwhelming (what's more energetic, Techno or Oompah Polka?) and the technology used to analyze and assign mood attributes to music files is imperfect.

But just when all hope seemed lost that a mood-based jukebox would ever see the light of day, independent music label Ghostly International ripped the curtain off an iPhone app that takes a new approach.

Ghostly Discovery is a free application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that allows you to stream music from Ghostly's eclectic catalog of electronic, pop, hip-hop, and ambient artists. The streaming audio app serves up recommended songs based on your mood input (based around a mood ring-style color gradient) and settings for music style (digital/organic) and tempo (faster/slower). Once a song is playing, you can play, pause, and skip songs, read artist information, or choose to purchase the song through iTunes.

Ghostly Discovery from Ghostly International on Vimeo.

The brilliant part of all this is that it solves three problems in one shot. First off, it cracks the long-standing mood jukebox problem by offering a selection of songs small enough for the developer to tag individually and accurately (like a label-specific Music Genome Project). Second, it gives fans of the Ghostly's tightly curated roster of artists a way to hear songs free of charge. And finally, the app boosts the profile of the label, maintaining its relevance as a taste-maker, promoting its artists, and giving fans a cool app to show off to friends.

Let's hope other labels follow suit. I'd love to see indie rock labels like Sub Pop try its hand at this, or maybe a jazz label like Vanguard with an intimidatingly large catalog. Thoughts?

(via ISO50)