Imeem, one of the fastest growing sites on the Web in recent months, has proven the popularity of music playlists. It is also signing deals with major labels to let users access and play copyrighted songs.
So it’s no surprise that a bunch of other companies are jumping in the game for both music and video playlists. Project Playlist, for example, lets you manually create playlists of songs and embed them in MySpace. FIQL developed a cumbersome version of the same, making it easy to share and buy songs, but harder to listen. FIQL TV is an improvement, grabbing YouTube music videos for your song playlists.
Enter Yoinkd, which launched yesterday. In a space focused on a lean-forward experience Yoinkd lets you lean back. Not sure what you want to watch, or too lazy to make your own playlist? Type in “surfing,” for example, and receive a constant stream of videos related to surfing. No need to search for a new video every three minutes.
Currently Yoinkd pulls videos from YouTube and Google Video, with plans to include other Flash-based players. It lets you email or embed your playlists; you can customize the size and skin of the resulting widget. You can also see what video playlists your friends are watching (yoinks, if you will) in real time from the site.
Yoinkd has multi-platform aspirations: to play on networked devices like the iPhone, Wii, PSP and PS3, all helping it create a lean-back experience. The founders said they’ll probably tackle the iPhone first.
Yoinkd also lets you create playlists from RSS feeds by pulling in videos that are contextually relevant to the feed’s title and subject text. A few experiments:
– Bizarre for the VentureBeat feed (returned only two videos, including one about mold, in reference to this post).
– Disappointing for the Fleshbot feed (returned a Freaks of the Industry music video and a Google TechTalk on the Archimedes Palimpsest, but no porn).
– Very cool for the iTunes Top 50 feed (below; returned corresponding music videos for many of the Top 50 songs, returned the National Lampoon parody of Britney Spears’ new wreck of a single, Gimme More since the original video was yanked from YouTube last week).
Yoinkd automatically fixes broken video links by looking at how specific your original search query was (was I looking for Britney Spears videos or specifically the Gimme More video?) and re-linking to something contextually similar (like an older music video for the broader term, or the parody of the more specific video title query). This is a step up from services like Project Playlist that require you to manually verify each link before it enters your song playlist.
Yoinkd is a part-time project for three recent UC Berkeley and UPenn grads, Charles Yong, Jing Chen and Richard Chen. By their count, they’ve spent $80 over the last few months, pushing serving costs to the client side. They have an undisclosed “second project” in the works.
[Disclosure: Julie Ruvolo runs ad sales and strategy for Stage6.com, part of DivX, Inc.]
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