Jango is a social music site that's launching formally in the middle of next month, but has decided to reach out to blogs for coverage now. Apparently a company with an enlarged sense of proportion all along, Jango says its private beta has 300,000 users. Yet it's stayed off the radar of all the leading web 2.0 review blogs to date. Read/WriteWeb readers who click through this link can access the closed beta. You'll be prompted to create an account after you enter your first artist search.
Read on for more info about the interesting founders, the interface and the recommendation engine.
Jango was founded by an international band of mysterious outlaws; they participated in the first bubble, including in European giant portal Spray and "monopoly cable TV stations" in Armenia and "their arch rival country" Azerbijan. I said they were outlaws. The six co-founders self-funded the New York based company until yesterday when they closed a $1 million angel round from undisclosed investors.
There is, in fact, more AJAX than you can shake a stick at. There's not a pop-up player per se, but there is some song and channel continuity across pages. This doesn't appear to be AJAX, it's quite interesting in fact, but I like it.
There's a lot that's not finished at Jango yet (after all, it's still in private beta with only 300,000 users -lol) but the single biggest thing you'll notice is the superior control over the playlist. You can skip around to related songs played past and in the future - you're not at the mercy of the tireless advance of the stream ala Pandora. It's quite nice.
Unsigned music industry blog The Hippodrome got in on the beta and says that they didn't discover anything new on Jango. Jango is paying an internet radio station license to SoundExchange, ASCAP and BMI and populates its library via manual collection (they buy CDs). Commercial popularity, editorial selection and "people who like" recommendations all go together to determine Jango's recommendations.
The social music market is a crowded one, but it looks like Jango has learned from its quicker competitors and has launched a very nice service.