Spool.fm is a community oriented web-based music player whose goal is to make sharing music simple. I have been toying around with it since yesterday and I must say I am quite impressed. It has a fairly good collection of songs (this is subjective), including some hit Indian movie songs. The audio quality is average and there is definitely scope for improvement.
But, the low bitrate makes it possible to stream music while surfing even on my 256kbps connection. Spool.fm’s main objective is to allow friends with similar musical taste enjoy music collectively. You can drag and drop songs to create and save playlists which you can share with your friends. Not only that with the synchronization feature you can both listen to the same songs at the same time.
The most impressive aspect of Spool.fm is it’s integration of Audioscrobbler (which powers Last.fm also). While you are playing a song, it retrieves a list of related songs and albums based on data available at AudioScrobbler. If you have an last.fm account it can also fetch the list of top tracks, weekly top tracks and recent tracks played by you. It offers to play similar songs based on this data (Screenshot).
All this is complemented by a well well laid out interface. It’s fairly responsive and works well with both Opera and Firefox. It has a few minor quirks like overlapping text at a few places and sometimes it fails to show the correct song length, but mostly it works well.
However, as with most similar services the the legality of this service is questionable. Spool.fm claims that it is safe since it doesn’t store any music file. The Spool.fm bot searches various servers and indexes music files. Spool.fm merely plays these files when requested by the user. I am not a legal expert so I don’t know if that argument is valid. There is also a possibility that if it gets too popular then these content providers could start blocking it, as Spool.fm is definitely leeching content and draining bandwidth but providing nothing in return to the websites which actually hosts these songs. But, for now a fledgling startup like Spool.fm is probably safe.
Spool.fm is a good alternative to Radioblogclub and even Pandora (for folks outside the US). Go ahead and give it a try.