Ben WoodsEurope Editor
Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional online poker player. You can contact him via Twitter or on Google+.
Spotify has launched a new experimental tool that allows you to search for a specific artist to find out which other musicians are related musically. It also provides related artist info about their background and top hits.
Tweeted out today by Spotify, the Artist Explorer simply requires you to search for an artist or genre of music. If you search for an artist it will show 10 more related musicians by default, and will begin playing a snippet of music when you move your mouse over any of them.
If you search by genre, it will display 10 artists linked to that genre, which you can then use as a jump-off point to drill down deeper into specific artists.
On the right-hand side of the page information about your currently selected item is displayed. So, for example, in the image below, artist details for Jaguar Skills are diplayed, along with some top hits. Moving your cursor (or tapping, if on a touchscreen) plays a snippet of each of those tracks.
At the top of this right-hand column, you can select whether music should play automatically, and how many musical connections you want to show by default – 20 is the maximum, 1 is obviously the minimum.
While the content in the center panel is resizeable (pinch-and-zoom or scroll wheel on a mouse), as you can see from the 15 artists displayed above, things tend to get quite small when you venture above 10.
Related artists are ordered by popularity, which you can see reflected by the little gauge in the Artist Info section. While there’s no explanation of this popularity ranking, presumably it’s based on the number of Spotify streams for each artist or individual track.
Perhaps the best thing about this though is seeing the musical relations of relations of relations; very much like a musical family tree. From Rihanna to Joni Mitchell in just a few clicks.
It’s not going to change your life, but if you’ve ever wanted to explore a new genre of music – or just find some new artists similar to people you already like, then the Spotify Artist Explorer experiment is a fun way to pass a few minutes.
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