LetsListen marries music with Google hangouts and invites SoundCloud tracks to the party

LetsListen roomWhen Turntable.fm launched last year, the reaction was swift and palpable: People logged on, checked in, and quickly became obsessed with the music, DJ-based application. It was arguably the first service that introduced game mechanics to music listening, and one of the most successful efforts to get make it a group function.

But then, it crashed. Epically. User interest fell off a cliff, and much ado has been made about its purported climb back. And this has left a space for group listening and incentivized listening, one that the likes of Facebook, Spotify, and even Google Music are trying to experiment with.

You can now add LetsListen to that list. Today, the app unveils group listening with Google Hangouts as well as SoundCloud integration. The app also allows you to connect via Twitter or Facebook and load your own music files. 

LetsListen suggestedThe app is easy enough to set up and use: In a hands-on demo with founders Cole Flournoy and Kelly Battista, I simply had to join a Hangout and authenticate the LetsListen app, and then we jumped into the service’s platform. Our personal videos displayed below the player – for the record, you can mute or cut these feeds entirely. Each user has their own room, full of their music, either found via SoundCloud or your personal collection that you upload to LetsListen’s locker service. Then you jump into rooms, where you search through others libraries and suggest tracks to be played. You can also suggest your own content or find something from SoundCloud. Of course, there’s also a private listening mode if you just want to use LetsListen on your own.

The idea is to marry the group-think and interactivity of Turntable while also giving users the ability to enjoy the app passively. “We started on this six months or so before Turntable came out,” Flournoy tells me. “It’s similar because of the group listening piece, but this is also a full-fledged music locker. You can allow your friends to join or you can switch it to private.”

letslisten privateGiving it to its social side, LetsListen will integrate with the Facebook Ticker, meaning that when you have it switched to public, that listening activity will show up over on Facebook (it’s worth mentioning LetsListen is automatically set to public – no surprise there).

Music related startups are in a bit of a precarious position given the state of digital content and the unending argument between users consumption habits and rights holders death grip on traditional means of distribution. I ask Flournoy if there have been any obstacles for LetsListen in this regard, but luckily the way this application functions means it doesn’t have to deal with that headache. “We pay an Internet streaming fee similar to what Pandora does for the songs you listen to that you don’t own,” he says.

Flournoy says the basic LetsListen service that you can access today will be free forever. Users do have the option to upgrade their storage space, and in the future will have the ability to block ads with a premium account. And what about integrating other services? While he couldn’t name names, new outlets are on the horizon.

Signing those new partnerships will be important: There’s a risk in relying on users to supply their own content, and while SoundCloud is a huge coup for LetsListen, and getting some other names attached to music integration will lure some more users its way. That said, there’s definitely still a market to be exploited here, and regardless of the veteran statuses services like Pandora and iTunes have, no one has quite capitalized on making music truly social yet. 

Deals

Enthusiast alert: Get up to 67% off Polk Audio speakers at Adorama

Any time is a good time to upgrade your home theater sound system, which makes Adorama's Polk LSI Blowout Weekend Sale particularly tempting. Adorama has discounts up to 67 percent on Polk Audio's top-of-the-line LSiM Series for…
Music

Jam out in style with the 25 best playlists on Spotify

Music is the world's most potent drug, and the best playlists on Spotify will make you catch feelings. We've scoured the service for its top collections, and brought them together in one place -- for you.
Music

The best new music this week: Josh Homme, Domo Genesis, and more

Are you looking for the best new music? Each week, we scour the internet to find the most compelling new releases just for you. On tap this week: Josh Homme, Domo Genesis, Eddie Palmieri, and Jacob Collier.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Music

From Paul McCartney to Mariah Carey, this is the best holiday music

Whether you're a fan of classic jazz standards or modern R&B masterpieces, there's something for everyone on our playlist of the best holiday music. Pour some eggnog and curl up by the fire, this one is sure to get you in the holiday…
Home Theater

An acclaimed Apple analyst says the new AirPods are coming in 2019

Apple plans to release new AirPods much the same as it does new iPhones, and a wireless charging case, water resistance, and better Siri integration are among the improvements we can expect in future models.
Mobile

You may soon be able to listen to your own songs on Spotify’s Android app

If you love Spotify's streaming, but also have a large collection of niche music, then it can be hard to marry your two passions. Thankfully, Spotify appears to be testing the ability to import local songs to its Android app.
Music

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Music

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've handpicked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.
Computing

Block out the sun and drown out the haters with Bose’s new AR sunglasses

Bose has announced its quirkiest listening device yet, a pair of headphone-integrated sunglasses that allow you to meander the brightest places with your favorite tunes in tow. Called the Frames, the glasses will sport 3.5 hours of battery.
Home Theater

Spotify Wrapped reveals rad facts about your musical tastes and habits

The website may be a bit tough to find at first, but Spotify Wrapped tells you awesome facts about your year in listening. From how many minutes you spent jamming out to your top artists, and beyond, there's a lot to dig into.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Music

Apple Music may sign up more exclusive artists with purchase of Platoon

Apple purchased London-based Platoon, which is a startup that helps independent musicians get discovered by major labels. The acquisition may help Apple Music sign up more exclusive artists.