In what will be a recurring feature, Modern Vinyl will be giving their stamp of approval to one selection of the music world periodically, whether it be a vinyl pressing, new album or some other music related item. Whatever direction we choose, the highlighted selection will be highly recommended. Basically, it’s a nice way for us to showcase labels and artists we feel are doing it the right way.
I know this is a site devoted to talking about the latest and greatest in vinyl, but let’s be realistic here: I’m on-the-go, all the time. It’s really only in my downtime when I’m not so crazy busy that I get to relax and listen to my latest vinyl pick-up, which means I’m not really doing most of my music discovering through physical media means. It’s mostly in my car and during work and on my lunch breaks. Basically, it’s whenever I don’t have downtime. Okay, music discovering is my work.
When I discover a new track or album that hits me in ways I can’t fully recover from, I usually share it through my social channels from the official streaming music apps themselves. However, this is often a fruitless endeavor. Most of the apps — such as Spotify or Soundcloud or Bandcamp or Apple Music or TIDAL — send you through a ton of loops to make it as difficult as possible to simply “share” the music you’re currently listening to with the masses. Maybe it would just be more convenient to have one place where we could share our music with people.
That’s where Cymbal.fm comes in. Here’s an app that understands music discovery in a convenient one-stop shop, forming a totally new social experience that crosses your favorite streaming music apps with something like Twitter or Instagram (without the hipstery filters). It’s driven by you and the thousands of other accounts already on the app, meaning it’s not just you that’s sharing your own track to your followers, but you’re also getting to experience what others are currently listening to, and you just might stumble upon countless of new tracks and tastes and genres in mere seconds.
It has a newsfeed-like view with full album art of the track that’s been posted and shared (currently either through Spotify or Soundcloud), so you can essentially scroll up or down through tons of songs and, depending on how many people you follow, you’ll be seeing a TON of songs practically every minute. Personally, it’s not discovery overload, mostly because the app has other offerings that balance it out. The search option (which received a massive update this month) allows you to search for the song you want to share, but it also lets you see what’s trending based on hashtags, current music events such as SXSW, and recent profile additions (such as when an artist, tastemaker, or entity joins the app, like Pusha T or Yuck, record labels Domino or Epitaph, publications The Needle Drop or Tiny Mix Tapes, radio stations, and more).
Cymbal.fm feels more communal than any other music apps I’ve played around with, and I’m on it everyday, either posting a track that’s on my mind or listening to whatever else people are listening to. With the added incentive of people “liking” your track or commenting on it (as well as the ability to post links, which thankfully doesn’t take you out of the app itself or halt playback), you stay connected to followers and those you follow.
As stated above, the app is currently only for iPhone and can only play tracks based through Spotify or Soundcloud, but 2016 will see new changes and updates to make it a much more compoundable music enterprise. At least for me — a heavy Spotify user — I can “Save” tracks I’ve listened to from others and it saves directly to a playlist in Spotify for me to listen to without having Cymbal.fm open. Seriously, this app was made for me — and likely you as well.