A local team of Winnipeg entrepreneurs have developed a new music app for the iPhone that allows you to create a soundtrack for a party using the world's largest and best jukebox, which your friends can help program using their phones. Kinda cool right?
The theory behind the music app Anthm is intriguing, although in practice it could be a little unsocial, considering how you use it.
Let me explain.
As host, you use the Anthm app on your phone or computer (whichever will be playing the tunes) and line up a couple songs from the seemingly limitless Rdio library (more on this to come).
Your friends, who must also have smart phones and who must also have the Anthm app, can then access your party list and vote on the songs you have lined up to play -- thus dictating their order.
But your guests don't simply have to deal with your songs, they can access your Rdio account and "request" tracks from a library of over 12 million to add to your playlist.
While the Anthm app is free, Rdio will cost you. But even at 10 bucks a month Rdio is worth it, considering you can find what seems like every song in existence in the program. (I was reaching back to some obscure titles for a playlist and they were all there - including full albums and b-sides). So it is a big plus that Anthm uses Rdio's library, making for no shortage of tunes to request and play.
My main problem is that, while Anthm is a democratizing of the DJ-ing process, it involves people having their heads buried in their phones (searching for songs to add to the queue) when they really are neglecting their partying duties (you know, like meeting or talking to people). Surely it is an intriguing concept to have all your buds contribute to your party music, but the more time people are on their phones at your party, the lamer your party becomes, right?
My other minor beef is that your "party playlist" itself is fleeting. Once you play a song, it is gone from the list. There is no shuffle, repeat, etc.. You create the playlist, it plays in order depending on your friends voting, and it is gone.
One interesting thing of note is when your party playlist has run its course Anthm will continue to add songs to it on a thematic basis (and it does a decent job too), so at least you don't always have to have tracks lined up for the party to continue.
In the end you, as the playlist generator, are still in control of what actually gets played. You can skip songs that your friends put on your list, but they can't do the same with your material. As well, you can put a password on your playlist so people simply cannot access it - so you can keep your "party" personal.
So essentially when you throw your Anthm party, with your own party playlist, you are like Putin: Your comrades can vote, but in the end, you have ultimate control.
Mike Green, SCENE Producer(CBC)