A new web app has arrived that is helping YouTube keep up with all of the other online services you've probably been enjoying lately like Grooveshark, Google Music, Apple's iCloud, and countless others.
Tubalr is a simple app that basically makes a playlist out of YouTube videos based on a musician or band you like. Geared towards allowing you to "effortlessly listen to a band's or artist's top YouTube videos without all the clutter YouTube brings," Tubalr gives you the option to generate a playlist that either contains only music from the artist you choose or that will contain music from that artist as well as music that the app deems to be similar to them.
The interface is incredibly minimalist and there are no ads except for the extant ads that appear in the YouTube videos themselves (no way around that, really). You can Favorite videos as well as share them on Twitter and Facebook, although I found that when you "share" your playlist the site doesn't preserve the actual playlist you may be enjoying. Instead, it generates a new playlist based on whatever musician(s) you used to generate your original playlist. This is something of a minor complaint, but that lack of playlist preservation leaves something to be desired as I'd like to revisit some of the entire playlists I've listened to on Tubalr. Then again, I guess that lingering desire of mine is a signal that Tubalr is doing a good job at creating playlists for me because, otherwise, I wouldn't give a toss about being able to listen to playlists again in the future.
Since music services on the web are legion, I kept my comparison field down to two services: the young padawan, Tubalr, against its Jedi sensei, YouTube's Disco. I'm listening to Tubalr as I write this and so far the stream of music has been uninterrupted (I'm about eight videos into my playlist) and it's all been original content from the artist I used to generate my playlist (meaning no covers of songs by people like me who probably don't do a good job at covering songs). I entered the same artist into YouTube's Disco, however, and made it through all of one song and then it cued up three videos in a row that had been removed from YouTube due to "copyright grounds." I didn't have to manually skip these deleted videos, but still... it created a noticeable lull between songs until YouTube finally cycled to a video that wasn't removed. Alternately, Tubalr appears to omit those deleted videos and only cue up videos that are currently working. To Disco's credit, though, I was able to preserve the playlist exactly as it was generated.
Now onto design. I will let the following screencaps speak for themselves:
There's nothing innately wrong with YouTube's look, but even with the recent make-over that Google gave the site, Tubalr makes it look like a messy hoarder. It may not look so bad in these particular screencaps but that's because the monitor I use at work is particular enormous. If you use Disco on a smaller screen, such as on a laptop, the screen begins could trigger some claustrophobia.
The next completely scientific experiment I put Tubalr to was more out of personal curiosity: in the bar where I'm supposed to type the name of an artist or musician, I simply typed "awesome music now!"
The first video it gave me: Lynyrd Skynyrd - Free Bird. And yes, I'm aware of that whole 21st century social norm demanding "pics or it didn't happen," so here you go:
I guess there's no accounting for taste...
But there you have it. It's hard to really choose one over the other insofar as function goes, but I do really enjoy the aesthetic of Tubalr a whole lot more, which is all they ever really promised in the first place: less talk, more rock - well, that is, if talk meant clutter.