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Moodagent 2.0: A great app becomes awesome

David Winograd

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A good number of us at TUAW love Syntonetic's Moodagent app; it creates instant playlists around a mood you select, fitting the music to your state of mind. We reviewed it in December, and caught up with Syntonetic's president Richard French at Macworld who told me that the app had created profiles for over 30 million songs and has had over 1 billion songs requested.

I gave him a laundry list of feature requests. He told me that most if not all of my suggestions would be incorporated into the app in the next 3-6 months. True to his word, and right on schedule, Moodagent 2.0 is out including all my requests and a lot more. Richard seems to be passionate about listening to his user base and determined to give them what they want.

Moodagent creates genius mixes from your iPhone/iPod touch or iPad music libraries (it requires iPhone OS 3.0 or better). The mood is based on 4 sliders representing emotions (Sensual, Tender, Happy, Angry) and a fifth for Tempo. You move the sliders up or down depending upon your mood and an instant mix is generated either automatically, or based upon a "seed" song of your choosing.

Since Macworld, the number of songs requested has risen to well over 2 billion and counting. Moodagent is now 2 apps, a free one that in version 2.0 is supported by advertising, and a paid app (US $4.99), with the only difference being that the paid version doesn't have any advertising and allows you to see one more song on the screen. That's it.

Read on to find out about all the changes.

All of the new features are very useful with not a bit of fluff or useless eye candy. Here's what's changed:

  • Originally mixes could only be 25 songs long. Now the length is selectable and you can have a mix with up to 50 songs.
  • Social networking is included. You can send a tweet telling what song you are listening to, or create a Facebook entry listing your entire current mix. There is currently a slight problem with this. It seems that when you put in your Twitter or Facebook credentials, there is no way of changing your input. So if you made a mistake, or more than one person is using the app, you are out of luck. I am told that a minor update is in the works that will solve this problem.
  • By pulling down the current mix, you are given the option to refresh it, creating a new mix with different songs based on the same 5 slider settings.
  • It used to be confusing as to what the sliders meant, but now there is an option to have labels show up at the top of the sliders making things much easier to understand.
  • By pressing and holding on the name of the song, a bar is displayed allowing you to exclude the song or artist from or all other mixes., If you really like the song, you can have it appear on every mix that you might create in the future. Whatever you decide is easily undone through the settings menu.
  • More languages are supported. Moodagent 2.0 provides support for: English, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
As of now, there is no iTunes plug-in which I'm sure will be coming eventually and is a very popular request. Since Moodagent interfaces with the iPod app, music plays in the background if you quit the app, a very nice feature.

One very minor quibble is that getting to the settings and help screens don't use the usual stylized "i". They can be gotten to by tapping the right facing arrow at the upper right of the screen. Maybe this was done because full instructions and help are found in settings and not as a standalone function, but it did confuse me for a few minutes.

All the new changes make a great app even better, and since it's so flexible I've gotten into the habit of using it much more than I use the iPod app. Moodagent, at least as far as I'm concerned, is a must-have app. It's another one of those "why didn't Apple think of this first" apps, since it gives you so much control over your music library. It also helps you rediscover songs that you forgot you had.

If you haven't played with it yet, I'd download the free version right now; if it becomes as much of a part of your life as has with mine, you might even feel disposed to pony up the $5.00 to get rid of the annoying ads.

Take a look at this gallery of screenshots displaying the new features.

Gallery: Moodagent 2.0 Gallery | 13 Photos

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