Growing up, my weapons of choice for listening to music were my trusty walkman and the tapes I saved up for weeks to buy. Needless to say, I developed some really old-school listening habits which are hard to shake to this day.
Finding suitable music for a particular occasion can be daunting for a “play-the-whole-album-from-start-to-finish” kind of guy, so once I discovered I could search for music by mood I was really taken with the possibilities. I signed up for a premium Spotify subscription based on that functionality alone.
Sleeve Music attempts to take this concept to the next level. The app offers curated playlists sorted by genre and by mood. It also allows you to create your own playlists by importing your favourite artists from Spotify, Last.fm, Facebook and your local music library.
Sign-up is as easy as it gets. The app connects to your Spotify account, your local music library, Last.fm and Facebook. You then choose which artists to import, and Sleeve Music does the rest.
Unfortunately, the app left me mostly underwhelmed.
The number of artists you can import into the app, at fifty, seems quite limited, and will simply not cut it with music lovers who want their entire music collection at their fingertips.
The interface design seems to owe a lot to Spotify, but is neither as intuitive nor as fluid. I often had to pause to think about what I needed to do next – a definite no-no.
Of course, the app’s major emphasis is on the discovery of new music according to mood, genre or even geographic location. I did like the mood divisions on offer. Some, like “late night” and and “after work chill” are right up my alley. The number of moods and genres to choose from are however quite limited.
Overall, the app feels quite generic, and much work needs to be done for it to become truly competitive. It does nothing which Spotify cannot already do better. The only truly original feature is the possibility of discovering new music by geographical location, but again this functionality is hampered by the limited choice on offer.
Sleeve Music is still very much a work in progress. Whether it can eventually stack up to the competition remains very much to be seen.