When it comes to listening to music, people’s habits are as varied as the music itself. Different listeners control their music in different ways. The music nazis will want complete control and fastidiously make detailed playlists. Then there are others who let their listening fate lie in the hands of a higher being – the radio jockey, or in today’s world – internet radio. Still, even in going the latter way, one may not completely agree with the tunes that are dished out. What if you could tell the radio what kind of a mood you’re in and have it play songs accordingly?
Sourcetone’s mood wheel promises precisely that fun and unique semi-controlled listening experience. All you need to do is pick a spot on the wheel that demarcates a specific mood and Sourcetone is supposed to churn out tracks that best suit the mood. On choosing Aggressive as a mood, we were expecting it to belt out heavy numbers from the likes of Sinergy or at least Metallica. Instead, it played I’ll turn to stone by a hardly known band called The four tops. The song was more ‘70s pop than anything remotely aggressive. The track selection improved a little with tracks such as Billy Jean and others that can actually be classified racy if not aggressive. Perhaps since this is after all radio, they’re actually trying to keep everything “radio friendly”. So if you’re in the mood for a little background music, the Tranquil and Pleasant moods are a good choice to leave the dial on – that is about the most you can get out of Sourcetone. A tip to get more focused plays: choose a genre from the drop-down list. The service also offers standard options which you’ll find on most internet radio services such as skip track, and adding tracks to favorites. If you don’t like a track, you can make sure it’s never played by tagging it as banned. If you like something, add it to favorites. The trouble with the mood selector is that it jumps about a little on its own within a broader mood quarter. This can get quite annoying since there can be quite a difference between Blue and Sombre. There are quick access buttons on the interface from where you can quickly buy the tracks you like from Amazon, iTunes or eMusic. The service is free, but requires registration to play more than a few tracks at a time.
Musicovery.com offers a similar listening experience, but allows for much greater control. This is because apart from mood, you can specify multiple genres, decades (70s, 60s, etc) and a tab to separate dance-able music from the only-listening variety. However, much of the interactivity options such as playing the next song are disabled for non-premium users. Musicovery also offers a Symbian application for mobiles. The song selection of Musicovery is definitely better than Sourcetone, but with the restrictions it has, we would give both the services an equal rating. So what are you in the mood for?