Mufin.com is a music search engine that recommends new songs based on the user’s favorite songs. Users type the name of a song in the search bar and the search results return a list of songs that sound similar to that song. Unlike other music search engines, this one is not based on artist or genre, but on an algorithm that analyzes the “essence” of the song – the tempo, instruments, sound density or harmony. In practice the search engine returns results that do indeed sound similar to the song used for the search.
The site allows users to preview a track from the search results, or play the entire track using a built-in browser based player that displays on the search results page. Video tracks of most songs are available as well, and can also be played in the browser-based player. Registered users can add tracks to playlists, which can be accessed from their home page (My Page). Users also have the option of buying and downloading tracks when available from iTunes or Amazon. The site offers integration with Firefox and Internet Explorer by adding the Mufin engine to the browser’s list of available search engines. The site also offers integration with iTunes, which allows searching on any song in the user’s iTunes playlist. In addition, the site offers a plug-in for integration with Facebook.Show more screenshots »
The Mufin.com site was launched in October 2008. The German-based Fraunhofer Institute is behind the technology used by the site. The Fraunhofer Institute is the organization that developed the MP3 music compression format. The site has undergone continuous growth since launch, and currently has thousands of monthly visitors and an Alexa page rank below the 150,000 mark.
Competition to Mufin comes from Pandora and Apple’s Genius feature. Both of these are music recommendation engines, but neither uses the type of technology developed by Mufin. Pandora uses a team of 50+ analysts to compare tracks and builds their recommendation database on the results. Genius works by analyzing user listening habits, and basing their recommendations database on those results.
The Mufin site has a very sleek and uncluttered look and feel. The site is responsive, with page loads and searches happening quickly. The built-in streaming media player works very well. Mufin also offers a free downloadable player for use with the site that works quite well. Navigation is intuitive and the site is very user-friendly. There is a convenient top menu bar for navigation, with tabs for Homepage, Logout, My Page, Software and widgets, and Feedback. The search bar is shown on all pages of the site. There is no advertising displayed on the site.
Registration at Mufin is free and is required in order to maintain a playlist. Registered users may also email song recommendations to their friends. The registration process asks for email address, username, password, and date of birth. Validation of the email address is required.
Registration is free and there is no premium membership to Mufin offered. Users wishing to buy and download tracks are transferred to the iTunes or Amazon websites to complete the transactions.
Mufin is recommended to all music lovers. The site is very easy to use, and the technology does work well. In testing, better than 75% of the songs searched returned results that did indeed sound similar. The recommendations from Pandora and Genius are probably a bit better, but the results achieved at Mufin contain many more obscure tracks from their database of over 6 million tracks. The results at Pandora and Genius tend to contain only popular songs.