After over a year dedicating most nights and weekends I’m incredibly relieved to be able to announce 2u.fm. I wanted to write a little to help explain the why’s and how’s as well as what’s next for the site.
Another music blog aggregator?
For me, it was simple. I like HypeMachine and Shuffler.fm. I love This Is My Jam and 8tracks. I even like Spotify and Pandora. I’ve used them all, but especially with HypeM and Shuffler I wanted more. They lacked ease of use, social integration. But beyond that, 2u.fm has a much different goal going forward.
The stack consists of Ruby on Rails with Postgres, Thin, Nginx, Memcached (with Dalli), DelayedJob, and some other parts. The frontend is hand rolled using Bootstrap, SoundManager2 with a custom music player wrapper, and some minor plugins.
The live listening is running through an instance of Thin running Faye and PrivatePub.
What does 2u.fm do differently?
There are a few big and not immediately apparent features on 2u.fm.
- Friend integration. Using Facebook you can follow all of your friends. If you are mutual follows, you can take advantage of the one-click sending on the site. Just hover over “share” and you can send to any number of friends with a click.
- Easy sharing with one-click short links. Once you listen to a song you can share it’s short url. This url actually keeps your context. If you were listening to a song on a friends profile and share that link, that link will always load the profile you were on, and start playing the song no matter what page it’s at!
- Live listening. While I decided to hide most of the UX I had worked on for launch due to it not being fully baked, if you’re friends with someone and you see them “online” in your friends list, you can tune into what they are listening to in real time, and listen to music fully synced together. If they change a song, you change too! This is certainly alpha at this point though, but it generally works.
- Artist recommendations and real artist following. When you follow an artist you truly get every song right in your feed.
- Filtered feed. Filter it by artists, users, or blogs. Not to mention with our parsing engine you get more and more accurate songs from the artists you follow.
- Advanced id3 parsing. Check out the filters on artist pages. You can see all the “remixes of” and “remixes by”. The parsing engine that figures this out powers a few areas on the site (ex: filtering out remixed songs from the Folk genre station). Not to mention advanced filtering of junk titles that are so often found on todays tracks.
- API integration. We have support for a number of API’s that we pull data from. Information and tags from SoundCloud, images and metadata from Discogs, and genre information from Echonest. And it will only grow from here!
- Better music player. Your current playlist follows you wherever you go. You can shuffle and repeat one. Use your keyboard to go forward and backward.
- Responsive design. Try it out on an iPad or resize your browser window until you see our “mini” player.
You’ve made it this far!
Congrats! Here’s a not-so-secret easter egg: Hover over the logo to change the color theme :)