The story so far.
Back in 2005 I started work on a social music service called Audiozue. Last.fm (remember that?) was just starting to get big and yet it was pretty much a walled garden. Everyone had MySpace accounts and lots of people were on Blogger. Facebook was still only for college students and Twitter wasn't even invented yet. It seemed to me that it would be cool if there was a service that would track what I was listening to and publish it to the web. It would be even more awesome if I could post my favorite songs on MySpace or Blogger. Thus Audiozue was born.
I had never built a product before but I was game to try. The first incarnation of Audiozue was built as a Java app running on Apache Tomcat (yikes!). It didn't have any desktop integration and you had to upload your iTunes Library plist, which the service would parse and add the songs to your profile. It quickly became apparent to me that this was going to be way too much of a pain for most people. This forced me to crack XCode and objective-c for the first time. After a couple of months of hacking, my first desktop app was ready (or as ready as a first desktop app can ever be). A few months later, in mid-2006, the site went live with a bunch of widgets that you could embed on MySpace or Blogger.
Honestly, it didn't do half bad. I mean, it did suck in many ways but lots of things sucked back in 2006 (remember how abysmally awful MySpace was). A year later it had an adequate amount of happy users and the idea seemed to resonate. The problem was that it wasn't making any money. I had planned on making ends meet through affiliate revenue from linking songs back to Amazon and LinkShare. However, as anyone who's ever tried to do this knows, making money off of affiliate links is a joke. Each month we would get a check from LinkShare for somewhere around one dollar. Amazon never generated enough money to even cut me a check. By this time it was clear that the service needed a serious upgrade to scale to the point that it could hope to contend with folks like Last.fm. Also everybody seemed to hate MySpace all of a sudden. At this point my freelance business was draining my life-force and I didn't have the energy or desire to keep Audiozue competitive. So in 2008, almost exactly two years after its launch, I put the site into hibernation.
A lot has changed since 2008. The web is a very different beast. Services like Facebook and Twitter have completely eclipsed blogs and MySpace profiles. Other services like Spotify and Rdio are quickly taking over the social music scene. Launching a service like Audiozue seems more daunting than ever. But in my eyes, the time is perfect.
Audiozue was never meant to become a social network or a replacement for your favorite music service. It was only a way to get your musical tastes from your desktop to your friends. Back in 2006 the APIs and pipelines were so primitive that I ended up having to build way more infrastructure then one man could reasonably support. Today, with the advent of open standards like OAuth, REST, and Open Graph combined with the ubiquitous nature of services like Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr it's the ideal setting for a little app like Audiozue to jump in and swim.
Now Audiozue can focus on being the perfect compliment to the social networks and music services that you love. This time around I've pulled out all the stops and focused on making the Mac App perfect. I've learned a lot since the day that I built the first Audiozue app and every bit of experience is going into the new version. If you liked the original incarnation of Audiozue, I think you'll dig its rebirth.