8tracks is one of the cleanest looking music streaming service available with a beautiful Nexus-esque layout and now, in the latest update, it offers Chromecast support. This means that users will be able to control their music streaming from their TV or monitor via a smartphone or tablet. If you’re unfamiliar with 8tracks, this is an Internet radio, social networking site that’s based around user-built playlists of at least eight tracks. The site is free to use but users can pay $25 a year for a six month subscription, which removes advertising amongst other things. What makes 8tracks so clever is that the playlist construction engine is sophisticated; we can search for mixes by artist, genre, emotion and psychographically descriptive tags (for example, “autumn” or “eclectic”). These mixes have a few rules, such as a maximum of two tracks from any one artist or album. This keeps the mix fresh and ultimately is a way to encourage people to discover new artists.
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8tracks is a great way to listen to music that you like and discover new artists at the same time. We can like individual tracks or mixes and we can follow other users, effectively subscribing to their mixes. It’s these mixes that help us discover new artists; the service will also continue to generate playlists with similar tags, which avoids dramatic changes of pace! 8tracks can also be integrated with Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. As we’ve come to expect from modern applications and online services, 8tracks is available on a great number of different platforms, which means that should you have any friends not using Android, they’ll hopefully be able to listen to your mixes on their smartphone as they wait out their next upgrade!
I’m excited that Google’s Chromecast continues to gain support. The Chromecast is a simple but powerful dongle, which allows us to effectively control streamed content from our device pushed to a bigger screen. It’s a simple, powerful, inexpensive device that handles the heavy lifting of the stream so that your device ultimately becomes a rather overpowered remote control! Or allows you to continue doing other stuff with your tablet or smartphone whilst your TV plays the film or music.