I'm a reluctant participant in social networking mania. Trying to fend off new websites, I nonetheless feel myself listing toward information overload and time-sucking, eye-crossing content absorption. I don't even want to know what Google Wave is, but am sure that in a week or two I'll be completely hooked. So on that note, here's another site to add to the mix: Blip.fm.
Blip was founded here in San Francisco and has been in existence for about a year. It looks a little like Twitter: you log on and get a stream of thoughts from friends and strangers around the world, but the thoughts are accompanied by music. Each micro-post, heretofore known as a "blip" has a streaming song. You pick and choose what you want to hear from everyone else, and can search for and post whatever song you like. Even free content isn't without an economy, and here, if you like what another DJ is doing, you can show your appreciation by re-blipping their song choice, by giving them props (basically a vote of approval), or by marking them as a favorite DJ. I can take or leave the props-trading and DJ-favoriting, but I'm pretty into the capricious crowd-sourced playlist.
There are a couple different ways to listen: you can subscribe to DJs whose taste you like and get a stream of songs from them. Depending on how many you're subscribed to, and how often they update, you'll get a pretty good number of songs. The other option is to listen to everything being posted, and get a constantly updating list, more like a surge than a stream. I tend to prefer that option. A recent playlist included Kermit the Frog singing "Wild Thing," "Groove is in the Heart" by Dee Lite, "Bonebomb" by Brian Eno, "Jenny from the Block" from J Lo, and "Disco Duck" by Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots.
I'm worn out by the constant idea-spurting and link-sharing of Twitter, but thousands of people forcing me to listen to Billy Joel, Notorious B.I.G., Jewel, or whatever obscure song is stuck in their heads? Somehow I don't mind. It's more random than radio, more unpredictable than your iTunes on shuffle, and more expansive than Pandora offering up some stuff you might like. It's a moment by moment look at the musical zeitgeist.
On-demand music streaming sites have run into trouble in the past. One popular site, Seeqpod was sued out of existence earlier this year. But Blip.fm has just updated its look and navigation. For now, Blip is a social -- and occasionally ridiculous -- way of listening to music you have heard, music you haven't heard, and maybe music you wish you hadn't heard.