One of the most reliable and enjoyable ways for music discovery is to get input from your friends. Although we’ve covered a slew of apps that give you a sneak peak into your social circles’ music playlists and help you improve yours, we haven’t really tackled the app that basically allows you to create a “soundtrack to your life” in real-time and share it with your friends – basically, you can be the tastemaker in your group through SoundTracking.
SoundTracking has been around since 2011, but the music app recently got a pretty great upgrade. What used to be a simple curator of personal music taste now has a variety of visual elements that can enhance your overall aural experience.
How it works (the basics)
Consider this a bit of a refresh on how SoundTracking works: Upon booting the app on your phone, you are asked to select a social media account to use for sign up. After choosing, like most phone apps, you are then required to authorize the connection and provide a username for the service.
Once you’re in, you are led to your Feed, which is initially populated by SoundTracking’s own posts (which is good – you don’t want to feel friendless and open an empty app stream).
You can immediately explore other people’s music by checking out what’s trending worldwide and locally.
The SoundTracking profile page sort of looks like Facebook, but it also feels like Twitter at the same time – you can find out how many people you’re following, how many people are following you, and your popular and favorite posts. Mine currently says I have 0 soundtracks, so let’s go ahead and try adding a new one.
Clicking on the note icon will bring up three different options: You can either look for a track through Song Search, activate Music ID so the app can ‘listen’ to a song, or access a song currently playing on your phone or device through My Music.
The option with the least amount of hassle is of course, Song Search. Upon typing a song title, the app generates a list of possible songs.
Once you select a song, the app prompts you to say something about it as well as append tags. Additionally, you can also tag your friends in the post (they’ll get a notification about it – perfect for song dedications!) and choose to share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare. Every post includes your current location (which can be turned off in Settings) and an option to post a photo sourced from your device camera, your gallery, or an artist’s image.
What’s great about this app is that it is fully integrated with other popular apps. You can watch a song’s Youtube music video without having to exit the SoundTracking app. You can play a song’s full track on your Spotify or Rdio apps. You can listen to music inside tweets. In addition, you can also browse your iTunes music library within the app, further increasing your music choices.
Its most recent two-way integration is with photo-sharing app Instagram. Not only can you now select a photo from your Instagram feed to accompany your SoundTracking post, you can also share any SoundTracking post to Instagram accompanied by a postcard.
Also included in this recent update is a collection of better looking icons for every action possible on your account and bigger profile photos and thumbnail previews for better perusal.
For this hands on, I used Facebook to sign up. When I tried linking my Twitter account, the app told me that it is currently associated with another SoundTracking account; I totally forgot that I had already signed up for SoundTracking long ago! To remedy the situation, I re-logged into my Twitter-associated SoundTracking account so I could delete it and re-link my Twitter handle to my new account. That didn’t happen – there’s no obvious way to delete your SoundTracking account, which would suck for absent-minded people like me. Before signing up (again), make sure you haven’t already done so in the past – that will make cross-posting a lot easier (and in my case, possible).
Another unfortunate fact: Instagram integration doesn’t seem to be available for Android phone users. Hopefully Android Instagram users (of which there are many) will be invited to the photo-filtering, soundtracking party soon.