Tomahawk Social Media Player is the future of online music playback - still requires a lot of refinement though

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I’ve been playing around with the Tomahawk Social Media Player desktop app for about a week now - since brother Markus introduced me to it - it exists in both PC and Mac flavours, with the latter being slightly more seamless an experience at the moment. This is definitely NOT a replacement for Spotify, more of a useful addition to it - as the largest library of quality music media comes from Spotify itself (requires Premium account).

Out of the box, Tomahawk does not do much more than play back files you already have on your desktop or network. To really get it working, you need to configure a number of ’Resolvers’ which include the following:

For Spotify Premium account holders (Windows Users) you need to download a separate Spotify Resolver from the Tomahawk site. All these Resolvers are only semi-official, so chances are some of them could get blocked at some stage in the future, but essentially the system allows you to search by all these resources and play back the various sound files on the Tomahawk Player.

It’s currently a little clunky and unrefined in its user experience and does certain things more awkwardly than one would have deemed necessary. There are separate searches for instance for ’Super Collection’ (Online Resources) and ’My Collection’ (Your own local or networked music files) - why these are not combined into a single uber search is kind of strange. Also, the Search results themselves are no way near as clear and concise as those on Spotify. In many ways, this seems very much a beta release - when compared to the slick experience of Spotify and new online apps like Pinterest.

There’s nothing particularly genius about the search either - as it does not retrieve all those oddly named YouTube files which you can find yourself on YouTube. Some of the results are bizarre ’near matches’ which appear midway through the results listsings rather than at the bottom - they should really be arranged by some sort of ’suitability’ algorithm.

So in short, the interface and overall experience are all a bit raw and unrefined, and leave a lot of room for improvement. For someone like me who already has a vast library of tracks and is a Spotify Premium user, it does not actually add too much. The search is still not clever enough to use for music discoverability means, and as a general search it is still somewhat unsatisfactory and inconsistent. However, that all said, I see enormous promise here and great future potential. The current version is only 0.3.3 - therefore by proper standards genuinely only a beta relase, and I’m sure that by the time version 1 comes around, the experience will be much improved.

The real advantage of using something like this is as a media aggregator - a resource which can properly scan and retrieve an enormous range to media from every conceivable resource - but to do this in a useful fashion, it needs to be more accurate, more intuitive, and a little slicker all-round - I’m sure they will get there in the end. As for all you freeloaders out there, this is not the solution to all your music needs, for me this is just another utility on top of Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Beatport and YouTube. The most incredibly thing about online music, is how YouTube has kind of taken over from MySpace as a promotional resource for new music releases - it’s now my first ’Goto’ resource when I’m hunting down promos and samplers for new releases. Tomahawk will need to get into clever new release alerts by favourite artists, as well as ’like’ taste recommendations to do really do well...

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