Hands on: Songdrop knows you’ve been listening to music for free and wants to help

Screen shot 2013-03-04 at 5.25.43 PM

For all the crap people generally give the music industry – usually rightfully so – it has done a decent job of adjusting to a new landscape over the years. Artists have embraced new means of distributing their music, a change ushered in heavily due to the popularity of the iPod and iTunes. The industry is at a point where you can pay a monthly flat fee and stream all the music you want without having to buy albums or download and upload songs between multiple devices. And yet the majority of us still have YouTube playlists of music we like to listen to reguarly. We have those playlists for two reasons: It’s easy and it’s free. The folks at Songdrop are onto that game. In fact, they want to make it easier.

Screen shot 2013-03-04 at 4.59.38 PM

The concept of Songdrop is simple and not altogether unique. It’s essentially a bookmarking site for music with the added bonus of allowing users to walk around the pay wall that accompanies most streaming services. You create playlists that consist of music you “drop” from various media sources like YouTube, Soundcloud, Vevo, and others. Those playlists live within your account so you can crank whatever fits the mood wherever you may be. That’s the theory of it, at least. We’ll get back to the execution.

One of the big selling points on streaming options like Spotify is the social aspect, a way to share tracks with friends who have similar taste or just show how much indie cred you have. SongDrop is no slouch when it comes to social, giving users standard Facebook connectivity, but also making it easy to share playlists and tracks via social networks. Adding another layer to the social aspect is the ability to follow both friends and artists. Following ‘friends’ gives access to their playlists and activity, and following ‘artists’ will let you know when someone has dropped a track of theirs so you can add it to one of your playlists.

Screen shot 2013-03-04 at 5.01.16 PMAll of this is great, so far. Easy access to music with no fee (for now), and a way to organize all the music that you’re using in a bunch of normally walled-off services is wonderful. But Songdrop struggles when it comes to actually using those playlists you put together while on the go. At the moment, it is a Web-only app. It works great in your standard browser on a computer and features a Google Chrome extension that makes adding music and tagging it correctly extremely easy. Playing music from your computer browser is also really well done, with a simple bar brought up to control the track. If there’s a video accompanying the music you can choose to watch it but the standard controls focus on the music.

The problem is that this cohesiveness breaks down when trying to access the site via mobile. Using Firefox and Dolphin on an Android phone, the website was glitchy and unresponsive. Adding music was essentially impossible as was playing already dropped music. Accessing playlists was doable, but we could never get to the page to play that music – it would constantly return to the playlists page. The site was also very touchy on the mobile Web browser and had some odd glitches while browsing. 

The glitches went away on a tablet-based browser as the site loaded and was easy to navigate in both Chrome and Dolphin on an iPad. Listening to music – the whole reason for visiting the site – still wasn’t working, though. Tracks appeared playable unlike on the phone browser, but the songs never loaded or played. This is a bit of a deal breaker for a service like this. Organizing music into playlists and being able to listen to them without having to deal with the blockade that is a pay wall is great, except that’s not the fun part. If you’re really neurotic and into putting things in cubbies or proper drawers, this is probably fine with you. But if you want to, you know, listen to music, this is going to need some work. 

We’d hate for personal experience to stop you from trying out Songdrop. The service is interesting and enticing. It seems like it has quite a bit of potential to give a functioning infrastructure to the scarcely regulated and freeform market of music posted on the internet. Songdrop realizes it’s all about the music and knows where people are going to get it, which is a great step in the right direction. It’s making that music accessible on the go where it’s currently struggling. The Songdrop team seems like it is intent on regularly making improvements and a recent round of funding should help with that. We’ll check back to see.

Home Theater

Pandora takes aim at Spotify’s Release Radar with smart playlist The Drop

Pandora is debuting its own answer to Spotify’s Release Radar in the form of The Drop, a weekly personalized playlist for Premium subscribers full of new music based on what they already love.
Movies & TV

How to watch NFL games online, with or without cable

The NFL's 2018 season is here, and we know you don't want to miss a moment of the action. Our comprehensive streaming guide will show you all the best options to watch the games online so you can make the right choice.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.

The best new music this week: Aphex Twin, Noname, and more

Are you looking for the best new music? Each week, we scour the internet to find the most compelling new releases. On tap this week: Fresh sounds from Aphex Twin, Noname, Black Belt Eagle Scout, The Goon Sax, and Slothrust.

Smart Reply not smart enough? Desktop Gmail users can soon opt out

Google will soon give desktop Gmail users the ability to opt out of Smart Reply. If you'd prefer to compose a short email the old-fashioned way, you can do so without seeing the auto-generated suggestions in the future.
Social Media

Instagram feature that lets you reshare others’ posts may be on its way

Despite constant calls from many of its billion-plus users, Instagram has always refused to offer an option that lets Instagrammers reshare others' posts that appear on their feed. New reports suggest this could be about to change.

Huawei is not-so-subtly trolling Friday’s iPhone launch

Apple launches the iPhone XS range to the public on Friday, but Huawei is out in force to remind the public what they could be missing out on (Hint: It's the Mate 20 Pro) by choosing Apple's latest smartphone.

The iPhone XS and XS Max are now available -- here's how to get them

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally taken the wraps off of the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now that the phones are out, you might be wondering how you can get them for yourself.

The Apple Watch Series 4 is now available -- here's where to buy it

The new Apple Watch Series 4 is here. Besides the Apple store, the company's next-generation smartwatch is be available for purchase through all four major carriers. Here's where you can get yours.

How to buy the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR in the U.K.

The new iPhone range is here, and it consists of three models: The iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR. You can buy the iPhone XS and XS Max in the United Kingdom now, so here's our guide on where to buy one.

Need a do-over? Here's how to factory reset an iPhone, from XS on down

Resetting an iPhone can alleviate all sorts of software woes, and wipe away personal data should you sell your device or give it to someone else. Here's how to factory reset an iPhone from within iOS or iTunes.

Audio company Bragi is suing OnePlus over the word 'dash'

Despite taking steps to change to "Warp Charge," OnePlus is being sued by audio company Bragi over the phone manufacturer's continued use of the word "dash" in the Dash Charging used in OnePlus phones.

The best weather apps for Android will keep you dry no matter where you go

You may not be able to change the weather, but you can at least be prepared for it. Check out our guide to the best weather apps for Android, so you'll always know what to expect when you step out the front door.

Android 9.0 Pie is finally rolling out to the OnePlus 6

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.