For music aficionados, digging through record crates is a rite of passage. There’s certainly something exciting about flipping from one record to the next, glancing at album art and wondering how the songs sound. For NYC record collector and hip hop head Matt (who doesn’t make his last name public), a realization that this tactile musical exploration experience doesn’t exist on the Internet led to creating Cratedigger.fm.
On the new web app, music discovery works differently from leading music streaming services like Spotify and Pandora. Search for an artist or label and you’ll receive a virtual crate of the releases in chronological order as well as the format, year, label and genre. Press on a record’s album art and it reveals the track list and plays the album. Then, you can click on the artist or label name and flip through another crate.
“So, if you search for Grover Washington Jr., find a release on Kudu Records, click ‘Kudu’ to reveal a whole new crate of just Kudu records,” explained Matt to Vice’s music outlet Noisey. “That process can repeat indefinitely, and that is our grander vision for Cratedigger.fm; to create a better music discovery experience.”
The app utilizes Discogs record release data and music streams via YouTube. As a result, it has a vast record database: 5.5 million catalogued releases, much larger than Spotify’s 30 million catalogue.
Matt hopes Cratedigger.fm attracts both current record crate diggers and newer ones. “To attract the existing IRL crate digging audience it’ll be funk, soul, disco, house, 70/80s stuff,” he explained. “To educate newer diggers, I think they’ll start with something more current. We’ll really attract people by picking up where the likes of Spotify leave off.”
While the service doesn’t have its own licensing, solely streaming music through YouTube, it has big aspirations. “We want to create the digital equivalent for the age-old pastime of record digging and have that proliferate as a superior means of discovery than what’s out there.”
YouTube hosts millions upon millions of songs and a Cratedigger.fm offers a sleek platform to dig through. Whether you’re a pop, soul, funk, rock or rap fan, there’s a sea of records that you haven’t heard. If this app — which is, admittedly, still in its early stages — can help, we’re all for it.