Few could argue that Apple’s failed attempt at making music social had much merit. Ping, for starters, was an awful name, and was a little too close to another semi-failed social app, Ping.fm. Of course, it was only the likes of us geeks that knew that, but that’s besides the point.
What Ping attempted to do was make the listening, and more importantly, purchasing of music a social experience, with new tracks being recommended to users via their friends and, for some odd reason, the artists themselves. It never really worked, mainly because nobody used it, and partly because there were giant gaping holes in its feature set. A new kid on the block, admittedly going by a name that isn’t much better than Ping, aims to take Ping’s ideas and run with them. That app, is Rexly.
♫ Play music from your iTunes library, share your favorites to Twitter & Facebook, and see what your friends are listening to – in real time. ♫
Rexly is an iPhone app which kind of does what we all expected Apple’s Ping to do, but in its own App Store-approved app. Once downloaded for free – and it’s worth nothing, currently only if you’re using the U.S. App Store – the app asks for your Facebook login credentials before anything else. Spotify has recently come in for some considerable flack for doing a similar thing, doing away with its own login system in favor of forcing people to use Facebook as a means of authentication. What this does is make people more likely to share their playlists, and their play counts. It’s an interesting move, and Rexly appears to be following suit. It’s worth noting that sharing, once you’ve signed in, can also be done via Twitter. Why no Twitter login instead of Facebook, Rexly?
Once signed in, you can start adding friends, choosing how much or how little you share, and listening to your music.
Unlike other services like Spotify, Last.fm and Pandora, Rexly uses your own iTunes library as the source of music, not its own online servers. This isn’t a streaming service ala Spotify, but more a discovery service list Last.fm (but without the latter’s radio station functionality) and, well, Ping.
When it comes to the social aspect, songs that show up as being listened to by friends can either be played back using your own library if you have them or, and here’s the interesting part, bought via iTunes. Does Rexly get a cut from that?
Whether Rexly really takes off very much depends on how well streaming services garner the affections of music lovers. If you’re using Spotify, Rexly is useless. Will Apple’s new iCloud features make people choose to buy their music instead of streaming it?
There’s a battle brewing, and it’s between the streamers, and the downloaders.
Download Rexly for iPhone [iTunes Link]