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Summary:

Can’t bear to hear “All I Want for Christmas is You” again at a holiday house party? You may be in luck. TuneTug is a mobile app that works with iTunes and Spotify to let party guests vote for the songs they want to hear next.

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We’re smack in the middle of holiday house party season. Can’t bear to hear “All I Want for Christmas is You” one more time? You are in luck — a new app actually gives you the power to do something about it.

TuneTug is an app that lets party guests request and vote for the songs they want to hear next at an event via their mobile phones. The app integrates with music that’s playing from iTunes libraries or streaming from Spotify Premium.

TuneTug, which is available as a native mobile app for free on iOS and can also be accessed through a mobile web browser, is super simple to use. If you are the party’s host, you can allow up to 600 songs from iTunes or Spotify to be included on the TuneTug playlist. If you’re a party guest, when you log into TuneTug, the app uses GPS signals to determine which party you’re attending. The host can opt to make it so that a passcode is required to access the playlist.

TuneTug voting (click to enlarge)

From there, using TuneTug is pretty straightforward, and really fun: Guests can vote up or down on what song should play next. If the songs are playing from Spotify, guests can add new songs to the playlist. Hosts maintain the right to veto song choice.

Making party DJing a democracy

According to TuneTug founder Rolf Rando, the app was built to solve a simple but real problem: “I’ve seen disagreements at house parties over what music should play next, or just a lot of silent spots where people are all in front of the computer trying to decide on music. This just makes the process really democratic.”

At its inception nearly a year ago, TuneTug was a project made within ImageChef, an app also run by Rando that lets you create slideshows with photos and clip art. TuneTug has since been spun out as an independent entity, and currently has four full-time employees of its own based in San Francisco. Spotify integration was added last month, since the libspotify API was just opened to third-party developers in August.

Making the leap to real revenue

For now, though, the company does not make revenue. Rando says it has not been a huge concern thus far, since ImageChef is comfortably profitable, but money-making plans are in the works. However, the path to large-scale monetization could be a bit rocky, being that personal music services such as Spotify and iTunes libraries are legally constrained from being used for large scale entertainment because of music licensing issues. Rando says he is in talks to raise seed funding to make TuneTug into a bigger concern. That way, the company could potentially build apps for use in retail environments and the like.

But even as it stands today as a consumer app, TuneTug is really cool — it adds a fun element to basic get-togethers, and I think it’s a no-brainer addition for anyone who owns a Spotify Premium account and invites friends over. It is also a really smart use of the Spotify platform which is just starting to get some traction, and it’ll be exciting to see how other third-party developers utilize its API in the future.

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