I am an avid music consumer, but lately I’ve been in a little bit of a discovery rut. I find myself falling back into the same old artists and albums I’ve been listening to for the past few years. While this realisation has weighed heavy on me in the weeks following New Years — when seemingly everyone is rebranding themselves and trying something new — in seemingly divine intervention, I stumbled upon an article from TechCrunch documenting a new app called Smores that is designed to help users stumble upon new music using Spotify. So I gave it a try.
I downloaded the app from the App Store on my iPhone and was greeted with the option to interface Smores with my Spotify account. The instructions to operate Smores were alarmingly simple: swipe to go to the next song, hit the heart button to add the song to your Spotify library, and/or tap to add a song to a Spotify playlist.
The first song I was greeted with was a song called “Mercy” by the artist Julius and, I’ll be honest, it was definitely something I would listen to. I sat listening to the song to decide whether or not to add it to my Spotify until the app automatically moved on to Betty Who’s “BLOW OUT MY CANDLE,” which is an 80s-inspired synthrock song that I would absolutely eat up.
After some experimenting, I discovered that you get to listen to a 30 second snippet of a seemingly random portion of the song before the app automatically moved on to the next one. This duration can be lengthened or shortened in the app’s settings, which features other customisation options where users can set their feed to show a certain BPM, artists with a certain number of followers, or a designated set of years when music came out.
Smores also allows you to curate the feed it presents you with by choosing a genre, which the app says are your “top genres this month.” Smores uses Spotify’s API, so these genres have the same whimsical names that may appear in your Spotify Wrapped. This integration is also how you can seamlessly add songs to your Spotify library and playlists, as well as how Smores’ AI has something to work with the first time you open the app. Smores also creates a playlist titled “Smores Finds 🔥” that solely includes songs you’ve liked on the app.
I can best describe the interface of the app as TikTok-meets-Tinder-meets-Spotify: A vertical based feed (TikTok) that forces you to make a yes-or-no decision (Tinder) with the cover art, heart button, and artist and song name presented clearly to you (Spotify). Smores’ developers Alex Ruber and Andrei Patru told TechCrunch in an email:
We love discovering new music, but we were stuck in our recommendation bubbles and it took too long to sift through the sheer volume of new music coming out. At the same time, we had a hunch: that you only need to listen to the ‘right’ snippet of a song to know if you like it or not: Shazam’s popularity points to this being the case.
The app builds upon the idea of AI in music consumption. Spotify, for example, uses artificial intelligence to recommend you music as well as build playlists like Daily Mix, which refreshes every morning with songs Spotify thinks you will like. The problem with Spotify is that its just not particularly easy to discover new music unless you want to comb through dozens of playlists to (maybe) find a song you’ll like.
While you can search for new music on Spotify and feed the platform’s AI information on your listening habits, Smores makes it easier to stumble upon that new music with their feed. I don’t see myself sitting down and using Smores to actively seek new music, but I do myself opening the app while I’m walking to work or riding the bus and passively listening for something I might enjoy.