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Gamify Your Music Sharing With #nwplyng

June 18, 2013

#nwplyng (Free) by Nwplyng Private Limited is a slick way to share your currently playing music with friends. What sets it apart from other apps is the gamification of it, which is similar to that of Foursquare and location check-ins.

I love music as much as anyone — really, where would we be without music? Life would be kind of boring and bland, to say the least. Music is my place of escape, and I’m constantly listening to it in some way, shape, or form. However, I’m always up for discovering new music, as well as sharing my music with others. So I was pretty happy when I was told about #nwplyng, because it definitely looked appealing for any music fan.

First off, I’m in love with the interface of this app. It’s “flat,” so it would definitely fit in with the upcoming iOS 7, available for the public in the fall. #nwplyng keeps everything minimal, yet the app still feels so elegant, as it places the main focus on the music. Scrolling is incredibly smooth, transitions and animations are fluid and beautiful, and I found everything to be responsive. Seriously, all apps should be like this.

In order to use #nwplyng, you will need an account. This can be done by linking up one of three currently existing social networks: Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like you are able to use the app without at least one of these, which is rather annoying. It would definitely be nice to see an option for creating a new account by email instead, perhaps in the future.

Once you choose your account, #nwplyng will ask you to choose your username for the service. The simplest way to go about things is to use the same username as the service you logged in with, but you can definitely change it at any time. You can also see if the username you want is available or not, which is a nice touch.

When you’re finally in, you will be on the #nwplyng screen, which will be a feed of all activity between you and your friends. By default, you will be following the nwplyng account, which can actually be a great way to discover new music. Of course, you can unfollow at any time.

In order for to share what you’re listening to, just tap on the button in the top right corner (this appears no matter which view you’re in). The app allows you to search for tracks and artists, or can listen in automatically on what you have currently playing on your iPhone, or whatever is playing around you. Tap on the song and then you can add a comment, as well as attach current location or image (new capture or imported from the photo library), and then share your update with your Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare friends.

Your play will show up in the #nwplyng stream for yourself and any of your friends. Users can “like” a song by tapping on the heart, or even add a comment. Tapping on the song itself will play a 30-second preview clip, or take you to a YouTube video featuring the song. Any likes, comments, or follows you receive will show up in the “Notifications” screen, accessed via the side panel navigational menu (tap the “hamburger” button or swipe right).

The more you share, the more rewards you’ll get. #nwplyng features “records” (basically badges) that you will unlock the more you use the app. Additionally, if you have a lot of plays of a certain band or artist, you can eventually earn the title of “manager,” similar to the “mayor” in Foursquare. There are also “levels” in the app, which can be raised with more plays and more followers.

Since #nwplyng is inherently a social app, you will need your friends on it. This can be done by going to the “Find Friends” screen, where you can look up if any of your Facebook, Foursquare, or Twitter friends are using the service. You can also go the traditional way of manually searching by name or username.

So far, I’m really enjoying this app. It’s simplistic interface that provides only the essentials of music sharing while adding a bit of gameification to keep things fresh and interesting, responsive design, and playable clips and videos for tracks. It seems like most tracks will be in the database, so for the most part, what you play should be searchable. If there was a way to purchase a track directly through iTunes with #nwplyng, then it would be perfect. Hopefully this can be added in a future update.

I recommend checkin this app out if you love to share what you’re listening to with your friends, as well as discovering new music that you may have never heard of otherwise. You can find #nwplyng in the App Store for your iPhone for free.

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