iLike is a social networking site that revolves around music. But the site isn’t where the magic is. It’s the iLike Sidebar that makes the music happen. The iLike Sidebar is an application enhancement for both iTunes and Windows Media Player. Since I’m on a Mac I’ll just tell you how it work in iTunes.
Once installed, the iLike Sidebar will become visible in iTunes and fulfill it’s purpose in life, helping you find new music. When you’re listening to something, the Sidebar will show the current track at the top. Beneath that it will show related music that you already own and have available in your library. Next up it will show you related music you don’t own, but can purchase from iTunes. It generally shows about 6 potential tracks for your interest. And finally, it will actually show you related music you can download for FREE from new artists wishing to connect with an audience.
Right now I’m listening to the new Longview CD and it’s showing me tracks from Del McCoury, Jim Lauderdale, Alison Krauss, Gibson Brothers, Laurie Lewis, and The Nashville Bluegrass Band. Those sound like pretty good matches to me.
There are other options with the iLike Sidebar. What I just explained above is just the “Related Music” tab. Other options include a tab for recent activity from artists you’ve selected as being favorites. These updates include new music, tour dates, and other events.
And then there’s the social part of the network. Just like MySpace or Facebook, you can invite friends in iLike and when you select the “Friends” tab in the Sidebar, iLike shows you the most recently played song by each of you friends. And this includes a link to listen and potentially purchase that music for yourself.
How well does iLike accomplish it’s purpose of connecting you, the listener, with new music? According to this study from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, it works extremely well.
* Long-term users of iLike added nearly 250% more music to their personal music libraries within a month of registering on iLike versus the month before.
* Five months later, active iLike users continue to add nearly 30 to 50% more music per month than before joining.
* It is indicated that the iLike Sidebar may account for this dramatic increase in music purchasing among iLike users.