8tracks, a San Francisco startup with a free radio service for making and playing playlists, is announcing today a new library full of more than 6.5 million songs from independent artists.
The music is coming from CD Baby, Dim Mak, and DashGo, and INgrooves — all companies that cater to independent artists. Songs from Steve Aoki, James Vincent McMorrow, and Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros will appear in the new library.
This expansion of the corpus of available music on 8tracks is a pretty big deal for the startup.
“Historically, the way that DJs make playlists has been primarily through uploads,” 8tracks founder and chief executive David Porter told VentureBeat in an interview. “We’ve had SoundCloud integration. What we’re doing now is taking that one step further, and we’re doing direct deals with record labels.”
The service could become more compelling to those who don’t want to deal with the hassle of uploading music. And 8tracks then could have a better shot at attracting and retaining users alongside other radio services, like iHeartRadio and publicly traded Pandora.
And the additions through the deals with labels — more of which are coming, Porter said — will also position 8tracks to boost user engagement on mobile devices.
Two-thirds of users — 8tracks claims it has more than 8 million monthly active community members — are playing music on mobile devices, Porter said. But uploading music from a phone isn’t the easiest thing to do.
“This will eventually allow us to add mix creation to handsets, which will be a big step forward,” Porter said.
One nifty feature of the new library is the crate. Songs that a user selects as favorites while listening get added to their crate. A user can then search the crate for songs or artists and drop songs into playlists.
Porter thinks of it as a way for 8tracks to reduce friction in the process of creating playlists. Showing people what they’ve liked recently can help them figure out what songs to add to playlists, he said.
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