YouTube seems to be constantly on the move, an ever-changing landscape of new services and features for video fans. Even as their fifth anniversary passes, they seem to be continually striving for enhancements and improvements. Some of these changes are hits—such as the YouTube Safety Mode we wrote about recently. Others are not as popular, like the appearance of mandatory pre-roll ads that our friend Nalts wrote about.
The latest “new feature” on YouTube is called Disco, and it’s aiming to be a kind of Pandora for music videos. The concept is pretty simple: type in the song title or artist name for a song you’re already in love with, and YouTube Disco will attempt to find similar songs by similar artists that you may not already be familiar with.
The interface is a little disappointing, yet appropriately minimalist. Just an in-your-face search box with some sample search suggestions below. Not much flash or flair at all.
What’s interesting to me is how accurate the thing seems to be. In my sample searches, Disco repeatedly returned new music video suggestions for songs and artists that were both new to me and quite similar to the vibe of my originally-searched song.
When you perform a music-video search, you’ll see a ton of songs by that same artist down the right hand side, with options to add any single song or the entire list to your new Disco Playlist. The Playlist appears under the video on the left, and contains simple X buttons to easily remove any artists or songs you immediately recognize as unwanted.
While the video of your original search plays above, you can click the “Next Video” button to skip to the next item on your new Playlist—you can also hit Shuffle to see the videos in a more random fashion.
The system is even linked to Amazon, with handy purchase links above the video, which is not only useful but also displays a bit of forethought on YouTube’s part.
Music videos are huge for YouTube, and seemingly constitute nearly half of the all-time most-watched videos list. While I may not necessarily be in the target audience for music videos—I lost interest in them around the same time MTV did—there is an undeniable thirst among the core users for this kind of content. And Disco represents an awesome new way to discover, manage, and save your favorites for safe keeping.
It’s a bit surprising to see this rolled out on YouTube proper, as opposed to the YouTube-driven Vevo, which is essentially a YouTube clone with different branding and trimmed-down content. A service like Disco would seem to make the most sense over there. Who knows… maybe they’re planning to roll it out on Vevo after YouTube tests and perfects it.
Regardless, if you’re a music fan—in particular, a music video fan—check out YouTube’s Disco. It may not be pretty to look at, but there’s power there. Remember how blown away you were the first time you saw Pandora doing such a good job of discovering new music you appreciate? Disco is just as good, which is kind of a big deal.