Gamification is making its way everywhere. When I sat down for a cup of coffee with #nwplyng founder Utsav Agarwal (Who previously worked at EMI India among other places abroad) a while back, he told me of his plans of creating a music sharing service that will be the only one you need. Fast forward to today and #nwplyng has great apps on iOS and Android. As of this week #nwplyng’s iOS and Android apps hit 2.0 and boy do I love them.
The app aims to be your go to app for sharing music. On launch, you sign in using your Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare accounts. On iOS it uses the built in accounts which makes life much easier. There’s a great slideshow tour on first launch that explains what the app does to you and right from the get go, I loved what I saw in the latest version. The main view is the #nwplyng view that has your stream with people you follow and your posts with a look that reminds you of the cards UI seen on good modern Android apps. Each card has a big image with album art and a link to the song shared on YouTube with buttons to comment and like the images. I am reminded of Instagram’s layout here. Swiping to the right or tapping the “hamburger” button on the top reveals the menu that lets you see your profile, #nwplyng stream, notifications, find friends and access the app settings. You can find friends to follow through Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare or by searching for usernames directly.
The actual flow of going from listening to a song to sharing it is very nice. Tap the app icon or #nwplyng symbol on the top right to begin. The app identifies what you’re listening to on your phone and it can even identify songs by listening and matching powered by gracenote. In my time with the app over the last few weeks I did notice the matching was slower than Shazam but for the most part it matched everything. If you don’t want to match, you can even search for songs and share. You can share your music to the same three networks and the tag used is obviously #nwplyng. Each post comes with a link to listen to a preview of the song which is how social sharing should be. There’s no point mentioning a song you’re listening to without a link to it so people who follow you can listen to it.
I mentioned gamification in the beginning and with each play you earn points and unlock records. Records in #nwplyng are the equivalent of badges in Foursquare. Each record and achievement page in the app has been designed really well and at no point did I get annoyed like I do in almost all apps that encourage sharing something.
Foursquare is synonymous with checking in to places and from the looks of it #nwplyng will be the equivalent for music. The app and service have both come a long way since the initial releases. The apps look stunning on both platforms and there is very little wrong with them. Some screens are truncated on the iPhone 4S screen but look fine on the 5. The Android app also lags while scrolling some sections. It takes what I love about Track 8 sharing and makes it more social. Hopefully in the future people will be able to go to iTunes or Google Play Music and buy music seen in the stream. #nwplyng is available Free on the App Store and Google Play.