Online music sharing is easier than ever, but it isn't always legal. Ezmo provides you with an easy-to-use online music player that lets you share your music collection with up to ten friends without having to look over your shoulder.
If you take a look at recent CD sales it quickly becomes apparent that a lot more people are listening to, buying and sharing their music in digital formats. There are now a great many legal - and illicit - ways to get hold of your favorite music with a simple download from the web, and services that help you to share and discover new music are also proliferating.
Ezmo makes it easy for you to upload your entire music collection to the web, legally, and share it with up to ten friends or family members. In return, you can also share the music that they upload to the service. This gives you a potentially huge jukebox of music that you can access anywhere you have a web connection.
If you want to listen to your music at work, in a hotel room as you travel, or anywhere else you can get an internet connection, Ezmo makes sure you have it to hand in a browser-based media player. If you then invite your friends to participate, you'll also have access to their music too.
With a simple media player at the core of the application, and basic social networking features thrown in, Ezmo makes it easy to create playlists, search your tracks, and explore your friends collections in a familiar setting, without having to take up masses of space on your hard drive. And the best part of it is that the unlimited storage supplied by the service is totally free to use.
In a few clicks you can get your music collection, or the parts of it you wish to share, up on the web and available to listen to anywhere you go. This is great news if you travel a lot, or want to access your files at work or on the move.
Even better though is the fact that you can choose up to ten friends or family members to share with, and each of you will be able to access and create playlists from one another's music.
This makes for a nice addition to social music sharing services like Last.fm, which allows you to access the type of music you like, but with a degree of the random thrown in. Ezmo has less in the way of social features, but does make it incredibly easy to access all of your music anywhere, anytime, so long as you are connected to the web.
Getting your music into Ezmo is very simple, albeit not the speediest experience you'll ever have if your music collection is of an above average size.
If you're using the Mac or Windows operating system you can download a simple desktop application that will automatically upload the contents of your iTunes, Winamp, or Windows Media Player music library to your Ezmo account. Alternatively, you can select a certain folder from your hard drive, and the Ezmo uploader will send your content from there instead.
With a smaller music collection you should find that you're Ezmo account is quickly populated with tracks to listen to. In my own case, I have about 70GB of music at the moment, and the upload process is still very much in its early stages, as you'd expect. Be careful of this if you have a bandwidth cap with your Internet Service Provider.
If you'd rather select which files you'd like to upload manually - or are on the Linux operating system, in which case this is your only choice - you can make use of a manual uploading tool right from your browser window.
Thankfully you can select a number of files at once if you hold down your CTRL / Control key and and choose the tracks you'd like to upload. As such, this is a viable alternative to uploading your entire library at once, and is doubtless a much quicker way to get started with using Ezmo.
When you have some music files in your collection, you can browse them by artist, album or playlist just as you would in your desktop media player. It's also possible to make use of a search tool to quickly track down a particular track in a large collection.
Clicking on the menu options along the top row of the player allows you to filter your music collection, so if you click on "Artists", for instance, you can choose to display on the tracks from a particular artist, or your entire library. The same goes for albums and playlists.
At the top of the screen you have a familiar looking stereo-like display for playing, pausing, skipping back and forth between tracks and adjusting the volume. You can even skin this player from a selection of different 'covers' available to choose from:
You can also edit your music tracks, so aren't limited to the titling and information assigned to your original files. If your mp3 collection is anywhere near as badly organized as mine, this will come as a blessing.
By clicking on a small icon to the right side of a track title, you can delete a track, or edit its details:
You can then edit the title, artist, album and even the track number should your music files be out of sequence. This makes it easy to quickly adjust your music files into their appropriate albums, and places within those albums should you not have done so already.
Ezmo also supports playlist creation, and you can create playlists from both your own music collection and that of your friends by simply adding a new playlist, clicking through to the icon of one or more of your friends, and dragging and dropping music tracks into your playlist.
In this way you can pick and choose from your friends' collections, and access them instantly from your playlist collection without having to search through your friends' entire library of music each time. This took me back to the days of creating mix-tapes for and with friends, and could keep me busy for hours.
Ezmo is primarily focused on its central function as an online media player that can be shared with a small circle of friends. As such, the social networking features built into the application are quite simple, and reasonably limited.
When you sign up for an account, you can create a simple profile by choosing your username - which can be changed at any point, and uploading a photo or avatar image to display within the Ezmo community.
That aside, each profile has a "wall", like that of Facebook or MySpace, on which your Ezmo friends can leave you short messages.
In terms of inviting friends to join you in sharing your music on Ezmo, there are a number of options available to you.
Once you've convinced some friends to join you in collectively pooling your music collections, you can write on their wall, browse their music, remove them from your friends list or view their profile.
This makes for a very simple feature-set, so even if you aren't familiar with the likes of Facebook or other social networking spaces, or just prefer to keep things simple, Ezmo is unlikely to confuse you.
While the social features in the Ezmo application itself are somewhat bare bones, you can integrate your Ezmo collection with your Last.fm account, so that every time you play your music in Ezmo, a notification is sent to Last.fm to share what you're listening to.
This is a nice feature, and in some way compensates for the lack of a more robust music discovery system within Ezmo itself.
I can see some users appreciating the tight focus and simple feature set of Ezmo, and it strikes me as a smart move to allow users to make use of their existing accounts elsewhere. Last.fm is a popular social music sharing service, and as such serves as a nice compliment to the more media-player focused functionality of Ezmo.
On the other hand, it would be nice to see a few more of the features offered by services like Last.fm right within Ezmo, for a more smoother, integrated music sharing, listening and discovery experience.
You can share your music in the following formats:
Ezmo is cross platform and will work on Mac, WIndows or Linux operating systems, so long as you have the Flash 9 plugin installed in your browser.
Mac and Windows users can make use of a desktop music uploader, which is not available for the Linux platform at the time of writing.
The Windows uploader supports direct uploading of your music files from:
Mac users can make use of the iTunes or direct folder upload options.
I enjoyed using Ezmo and will be using it again in future. There are a few things I'd like to see improved, however.
First of all, I think Ezmo could use a little more work in the social networking side of the service. I appreciate that simplicity seems to be the order of the day with the Ezmo application, but it would be great if I were able to search for other users, for instance, to see if there are any of my friends already using Ezmo. Given that I can invite friends via Gmail and other services, it would be great if Ezmo would search within its database for people already registered.
One of the things that makes Facebook and services like Last.fm fun to use is the ability to drill down and see more details about what my friends are doing - the applications they install, the music they listen to, the books they read, the posts they share. Facebook generates its mini-feeds, and Last.fm does a great job of updating what listeners are playing at the moment, and compiles that data into at-a-glance charts and top-lists.
It'd be nice to see this kind of functionality, or something approaching it, in Ezmo, as at the moment while I can browse my friends' music collections, or leave them messages, that's the only really help I get in navigating their copious catalog of music files.
It's great that Ezmo integrates with Last.fm, but it would be even better if I could tap into my friends favorite tracks and most-played music right from the Ezmo player.
If you're looking for a simple way to upload your music collection to the web, and to share it with up to ten friends or family members, Ezmo is well worth checking out.
Using an automated desktop uploader tool, or manually selecting the files you wish to share, you can easily move the contents of your iTunes, Windows Media Player, or Winamp music libraries online, where you can listen to them anywhere via your web browser.
The Ezmo application is simple, and if you are familiar with using a desktop media player like iTunes, you won't have any problems getting started. You can organize, search and create playlists from your music files, and those of your friends, and listen to it right away.
There are no limits on the amount of music you can upload, although if you do have a large music collection you can expect a long wait while you transfer it to the web in the first instance.
If you'd like a way to access your music collection away from home, or want to share collections with a handful of friends, you should give Ezmo a try - it provides a simple but effective way of legally sharing and accessing your music on the move, or without the need to take up masses of space on your computer's hard drive.
Furthermore, Ezmo is incredibly easy to use, and has a clean, no-nonsense design that makes it simple to listen to your music without having to wade through masses of unwanted extra features.
If you'd like to learn more about Ezmo, you might want to take a look at the following links:
Originally written by Michael Pick for Master New Media and titled "Share Music Legally Online: Listen And Get Access To Favorite Tracks From Your Top Ten Buddies With Ezmo"