A test version of a new online social networking service for music fans on Macs or other platforms launched last night.

Led by former CEO of Gracenote and former MTV Interactive executive David Hyman, MOG (www.mog.com) is a free service for music lovers that lets them share their musical obsessions.

MOG offers music-focused blogging tools and customisable artist-designed skins. Users will be able to host select legal music and video clips playing on their page, and it also offers a socially connected way for music fans to articulate their favourite sounds.

Music-based networking

It relies on a piece of software (which is available for Macs) which will tally your digital music library. Users can then upload information regarding the contents of their library to their personal page on the site. It does not enable the sharing of sounds.

The software also watches the play counts of music in your collection, automatically uploading such information to the page. Visitors to the page can then see what music you have been listening to lately, and can get in contact if they feel you share the same musical tastes.

Users can choose to only allow information about certain tracks, or to delete information about music they do not want others to know they have in their collection. They can also choose to add the service to their existing MySpace page.

The service also integrates technologies to automatically direct users to others that have similar musical tastes. It's also possible to search by location and age, for example.

The service provides 30-second sound samples of every song as well as direct links to iTunes and Amazon for download and CD purchases.

Users can also define their top song of the week, top songs of the month, most recently played songs and more. They can also publish information about their favourite movies or other entertainment.

The connected Web 2

"Thanks to bleeding-edge technology and ridiculously easy tools, MOG takes the work out of showing the world what you're about musically and connecting you with others with similar musical tastes," said Hyman. "We use all of MOG's smarts to point you in the direction of people like you, based on the music you're into - not to pretend that a computer really knows what you like."

He added: "Computer-generated recommendation models tend to be self-referential in nature and don't account for the fact that taste is complex and ever-evolving."

Gartner Research vice president, Michael McGuire, recently said that consumer-driven recommendations will play a critical role in the future of online music: "By 2010, 25 per cent of online music store transactions will be driven directly from consumer-to-consumer taste-sharing applications, such as playlist publishing and ranking tools built into online music stores or external sites with links to stores," he said.

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