I was quite an enthusiastic user of the now-defunct music streaming and download site mFlow. I’ve been beta-testing it’s successor, bloom.fm which is looking as though it’s going to be a very different beast.
I’d previously described mFlow as a cross between iTunes, Spotify and Twitter; it had something of a community aspect in the way you could “flow” tracks which other members could listen to, with a short but sweet Twitter-style commentary against each track.
Unfortunately the Achilles Heel of the site was that paid downloads were the only revenue stream, and too many downloads were seriously overpriced. While I was prepared, for example, to download a Dimmu Borgir album for £4.99 which cost three times that much in HMV, I can’t imagine anyone being willing to pay £19.99 for something like Mostly Autumn’s “Still Beautiful“. No matter how excellent the music is, it’s a fiver more than the band charged for the CD! The streaming and social side was great fun, but that side of things wasn’t earning money, it was just a loss-leader for download sales. And it does appear that they weren’t selling enough downloads for the site to be viable.
The successor seems to be designed as more a competitor for Spotify and Last.fm, with various subscription levels, although they’ve yet to reveal the pricing structure. It’s currently in Beta as iOS and Android apps, although a web-based version is coming. It will be interesting to see how it develops. At the moment the focus is on genre-specific radio stations (I’ve had the Prog channel running on my phone all day while I’ve been working), but playlists and some community features are coming. Follow BloomFM on Twitter to keep up with them.