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Make playlists social with Songvote

Songvote offers a handy online widget that allows for collaboration in creating playlists for events, moods, activities, and more.

According to a study conducted by Slacker in 2007, about 70 percent of music enthusiasts don't want to spend hours creating the perfect playlists, meaning that unless you're a DJ--or just really hard-core about music arrangement--you'd probably prefer to just listen to your library on shuffle or have someone else do the mixing for you. Internet radio stations such as Pandora and Slacker, and social recommendation sites such as iLike and already do a good job providing the latter.

However, if you're craving a mix for a specific mood or activity--or if you want to limit the DJ powers to a specific set of personal acquaintances--Songvote is the service for you. This extremely nifty (and completely free) Web-based app lets users create collaborative playlists based on a simple time-restrained voting system. Using it is ridiculously straightforward: visit the site; create a theme-, event-, or activity-based contest; and then sit back and wait for the votes to roll in. Once the time is up (based on an end date you specify), Songvote provides a final playlist based upon the results of the voting. Each mix also includes direct links to AmazonMP3 and iTunes to spur song purchasing.

Songvote voting screen
Vote for the songs you like based on the theme or activity.

For contest creation, Songvote provides a variety of parameters that allow you to tweak things to your liking. Along with the title, description, and contest end date, you can set an event date as well as allot the number of votes you would like each person to get (from 1 to 100). You may also specify whether people can comment or invite others, as well as decide who can vote: anyone in the world, only those you invite, or anybody with a VIP code. (The VIP code function allows you to share access via mediums other than e-mail, such as Facebook.) If you just feel like participating, you may simply visit the site and vote on any public contests, such as the one in the screen grab above. Completed public playlists are also easily accessible on an archive page and offer a handy iMix shortcut button for iTunes users.

Songvote is not without a couple of limitations that I'd like to see addressed in the future. For instance, although you can limit nominating ability to just yourself as the contest organizer, you cannot limit the total number of songs nominated, which can cause a never-ending vote page. I would also like to see more of a grid layout on the voting page to cut down on some of the scrolling required, but this is a minor gripe. The number one missing feature for me is the option to export the mixes as M3U files, which are compatible with a variety of music jukeboxes beyond iTunes.

Still, Songvote is quite an awesome service--and it's free to boot. I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone planning an event with music. I certainly plan to use it for my next one.