October 10, 2008

StumbleAudio – Discovering Your Favorite Music


With the success of Pandora, it’s unsurprising that there are new sites coming along that perform a similar function, but also significantly improve upon what a site like Pandora offers. One of the gripes about Pandora – a site where you select a type of music (blues, classical, etc.) or a specific band and the Pandora system plays similarly sounding songs – is that the selections are limited. Pandora has a tendency to play songs you’ve heard many times or songs that aren’t related to your original selection. It’s an imperfect science.

StumbleAudio aims to perfect this by offering more options. Like Pandora, users of StumbleAudio can enter a favorite band and the site will play similar sounding music and users can then click up or thumbs down, which helps the engine weed out bad choices. However, this leads to a potential drawback. To really train the StumbleAudio engine takes some diligence. Users have to dutifully press thumbs up or thumbs down for each song, as well as scroll through tracks that the user doesn’t like. So it’s a good application for anyone who’s close to a computer, but not quite effective as a source for internet radio. Note: StumbleAudio has no relation to StumbleUpon, a site to select favorite websites, somewhat like Digg.

Practical Uses:

  • If you’re tired of DJ’s making poor selections, you can take the initiative and find new independent bands and music based on your personal taste
  • Support independent music: bands get paid every time you play their music
  • Every song on a record isn’t equally good, so by scrolling through every song on an album, you can get a real sense about what a band is like
  • Are you already sick of Facebook apps? StumbleAudio can work in conjunction with Facebook, so you can share new musical finds with your friends

Insider Tips:

  • Check out the charts to find the most popular and most stumbled albums (the most disliked albums can be entertaining)
  • StumbleSpy shows what other people are listening to at any moment (not exactly useful, but an interesting window into other users)
  • For bands/artists, this is a great avenue to get music heard, as this application is bound to become very popular

What we liked:

  • The ability to scroll through every song on an album is great. Pandora does not offer this feature and it gives a real sense of what each band offers
  • Sleek, black interface that’s easy on the eyes. Important if you’re going to spend a number of hours scrolling through music
  • A good algorithm – suggested bands are actually similar to each other, unlike other popular applications. It’s not perfect, but certainly an improvement

What we didn’t like:

  • There’s no way to use the site with an external music player or gadget, such as an iPhone
  • The search bar leaves a lot to be desired. Plugging in bands that actually exist on the site came up with “nothing found”
  • The “Share this song” feature is not user-friendly. It says “Track URL Copied to Clipboard” without making it clear where this clipboard can be accessed
  • Unlike other music applications, it does not allow the user to choose more than one genre at once, so the music selection isn’t all that varied


Company Info:

  • Launched: July 2008
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: Palo Alto, CA
  • Founded by: Michael Broukhim and Adam Katz
  • Web site:


  • Free

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