A Short Review of MOG

Logging into MOG is liking walking into a record store and listening to whatever you want for however long you want. MOG provides a huge selection of music that’s only as limited as far their agreements with labels reach. The monthly plan starts at $5/month, though I believe there are discounts that bring it closer to $4/month if you get a long-term subscription. This is extremely competitive, and well worth it depending on how much music you listen to and discover. (I make more than enough discoveries for it to be worth the cost.)

Finding music is done through a pretty good search bar, almost as good as last.fm’s. I’ve found it works best when I type the track and artist name. I don’t have to type whole words, as long as I get unique enough for it to filter the search results down. MOG has a hard time ordering results in terms of relevancy, something I take for granted when using Google, so it’s easier to just get as close as I can the first time around.

Playing music is simple: click any play button to start. If I hover over the play button, a second “Queue” button appears, which allows me to easily append new music without clearing out the current queue. The music quality is great, by the way, at 320kb/s. Apparently that goes down if connection speed is causing buffer delays.

If I turn on the radio feature, which I rarely use in favor of last.fm, the player window automatically search for similar music, either in the current artist, or similar artists, depending on how far I slide the artist range slider. (That’s what I call it.)

There’s some nice extras here and there. There’s a “My Favorites” that I use similar to last’fm’s “Library” feature. Then there’s some social tools, though I haven’t figured them out yet. Also, MOG can actually link with last.fm, which is a big deal for me! Finally, the player window does a good job of recovering through network failures, which happens a lot to me.

Here are the negatives: the interface is a bit too simple sometimes, to the point where too many clicks are required to navigate to where I want. The player is implemented in Flash, though a desktop client and public API is on its way. The last.fm link is not perfect: it only scrobbles what I’m listening to, but doesn’t notify last.fm exactly when I’m actually listening (so I don’t get that yellow highlight over the latest song in my profile, nor do my friends get notified that I’m listening to music).

MOG is actually doing an awesome job of listening to users and adding or changing a lot of stuff. I expect a lot of those negatives will be resolved in time.

I got MOG because it provides all the music I want at a price I can afford. I use last.fm for discovery, and MOG for those times when friends recommend an artist, album, or track that I don’t actually own. I could use YouTube, but the quality is nowhere near as nice, and YouTube’s interface is not designed for music listening either.

I was hopeful last.fm would implement this, but they decided they couldn’t afford the resources required (search for “on-demand”) to make such a service. MOG is filling that hole for me quite well, and the ways it isn’t they appear to be actively resolving.

Final note: I do also buy the albums of the artists I particularly like. I prefer a hard copy in case I change services, or I am without Internet. Besides, buying a CD does more for the artist I want to support than these services ever will be able to.

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